Salespeople in fmcg saw their salaries increase by an average of just 2% in the past 12 months, but senior executives enjoyed hefty bonus payments as employers fought to retain their top people.

Data from The Grocer's 2010 sales salary survey, compiled by Pursuit NHA, showed the average bonus received by an fmcg sales director increased by 17.7% on the previous year. National account controllers saw both their salary and bonus payments jump by 10.5%.

"There's been a significant rise in companies offering good salaries to keep people," said Andy Preston, director at recruitment agency Penman Executive. "If you're good at your job you've got a lot of bargaining power."

The recruitment market on the whole has stalled over the past 12 months. Nearly two thirds of businesses made positions redundant while just over half the organisations surveyed had a pay freeze at some time in 2009, and 30% experienced a sales recruitment freeze.

The lack of opportunity for progression has bred frustration among employees, with 63% of respondents intending to leave their organisation within the next 12 months.