People walk through the financial district of Canary Wharf
People walk through the financial district of Canary Wharf in London, Britain, May 18, 2022.

British employers agreed average pay rises of 4% with their staff in the three months to the end of June, the joint-highest since 1992 but falling further behind inflation, industry data showed on Wednesday.

Human resources data company XpertHR said the median pay settlement had remained unchanged for a third consecutive month, while inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.1% in May and the Bank of England expects it to exceed 11% later this year.

Separate figures on Tuesday showed the biggest real-terms fall in pay since official records began in 2001.

"Pay awards appear to have plateaued," XpertHR pay and benefits editor Sheila Attwood said.

If pay awards have indeed stopped accelerating, that will be welcomed by the Bank of England, which wants to ensure high inflation - largely driven by a jump in energy prices - does not become entrenched for years to come.

However, there may be further upward pressures due to ongoing industrial disputes and increased public-sector pay.

Rail workers staged their biggest strike in decades last month and plan further walkouts, as do telecoms, postal and airport workers.

Britain's government on Tuesday announced pay rises for more than 2 million public-sector workers - typically around 4-5%, but ranging from 2% for senior civil servants to 9.3% for the lowest health staff.

XpertHR said there was a wider-than-usual range of pay offers in the 324 deals, covering 780,000 workers, which it looked at from April to June. A quarter of settlements offered pay rises of less than 3%, while a quarter were for over 6%.

Official data for the three months to May showed private-sector pay was 7.2% higher than a year earlier, while public-sector pay was up 1.5%. Much of the difference reflected big pay rises in finance and construction, as well as one-off bonuses.