Salary increases will average only 3.5 percent this year and are projected to remain at the same level in 2006, says the Conference Board. For the third consecutive year, the Conference Board projects that salary increases will run below 4 percent as employers continue to show caution. Inflation continues to be the wild card in the salary-setting game. The Conference Board currently projects a 3.1 percent rise in inflation for 2005. If inflation runs hotter this year and heats up in 2006, expect salary levels to run higher, too.