The UK offers the lowest pay rises on offer anywhere in the world, a new research has revealed.
According to global management consulting firm the Hay Group, these paltry pay increases may get even worse as the recession hits the UK, taking a toll on businesses' profitability.
Poor pay packets could lead UK employees to leave the country for better salaries abroad.
Pop singer and television presenter Cheryl Cole was rumoured to be considering embarking on a US career, after being offered an attractive salary package to work on hit shows across the pond.
The 25-year-old was allegedly offered big bucks by US fashion magazine editors to model for them in America, after she took part in Naomi Campbell's Fashion For Relief fundraiser during London Fashion Week.
Music mogul Simon Cowell was reported to be determined to help Cole launch her US career. A source told The Sun newspaper: "He's certain he can turn her into a global star."
A study published by the Hay Group this month found that the average UK pay rise will be less than 1.5 per cent this year, which puts the UK in the world's bottom three for bumper pay-packets.
Furthermore, over a third of organisations are reducing their headcount and freezing wages.
Jobs website Monster recently conducted a survey, in which it asked members of the public whether or not they expected a pay rise this year.
While 20 per cent of those polled said they did expect a pay rise, 44 per cent said they knew they would not, while another 21 per cent thought it was unlikely.
Irish employees have been the hardest hit with 78 per cent of those polled expecting not to see an increase in their annual salary this year.
Other European nations where employees are unlikely to get their annual pay rise this year include Italy, Luxembourg and Spain.
Simon Garret, director of UK executive reward at Hay Group, said that it is too soon into the recession to expect good news and prepared employees for tough times ahead.
He explained: "We are being hit worse than some of the other countries we've examined, in terms of the depth of the recession.
"We are as an economy cutting costs when it's possible to do so and freezing pay is obviously one way of doing that. But I must emphasise that it's speculation and not data led."