Rates of growth in salaries for U.S. executives and managers are expected to show little change in 2008, with a rise of 3.9% for executives and 3.8% for management over 2007 rates, according to the 2008 Global Compensation Planning Report from Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Those pale in comparison to a forecast 6% average rise in global salaries across all regions, with the highest increases coming from emerging market nations, including an impressive 14% increase in salaries in India.

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Salaries in Western Europe are expected to show relatively sluggish growth, with an projected rise of 3.4% across all salary ranges. Eastern Europe, including the Baltic States, is expected to fare better in growth terms, with all salaries up 5.4%. Steadily rising growth rates may suggest that short-term labor cost savings may disappear over time, according to Steve Gross, worldwide partner and global head of broad-based performance and rewards consulting at Mercer. "It is therefore essential for multinational companies to consider both current pay levels and future salary increases when deciding where to source their labor," says Gross.

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