For the first time since 1982 officers and executives are projected to receive smaller salary increases than top exempt employees. According to preliminary numbers from the WorldatWork Total Salary Increase Budget Survey, exempt salaried employees can expect a 4.5% increase in 2001, compared with 4.4% for the officer/executive category. The preliminary data is based on an electronic sampling of a portion of the more than 2,500 survey participants. The complete survey will be released in August. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based WorldatWork (formerly the American Compensation Assn.) also notes that salary increased numbers are showing a downturn in their growth rate over the next year in all four categories: nonexempt hourly nonunion, nonexempt salaried, exempt salaried, and officers/executives. The most significant drop is expected to be in the officer/executive category. Last year this category was projected to receive a 4.7% increase in 2001.