(CNN) - Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, companies are betting on their best workers, and they're willing to pay to prove it.
According to a study released by Mercer, nearly 97 percent of the 1,200 U.S. employers polled said they plan to increase salaries in 2012.
The survey showed an average planned increase in base pay of just 3 percent, which is up only slightly from 2011.
Half the businesses that plan to offer raises said they will do so in order to retain top talent.
This is because many employees seem to be doing the work of two or even three employees, which makes them all the more valuable to employers.
In return, employers seem to be using compensation as a way to convince top talent to stay put.
Top earning employees, who make up about 8 percent of the overall workforce, will see their salaries increase by almost 5 percent next year.
At the other end of the scale, low rated employees won't keep pace with inflation.
From the boss's perspective, they could be lucky to still have a job.
Despite these expected salary increases, national average wage levels are still low, almost comparable to those at the start of 2008.
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