About 1,700 Saskatchewan public servants are getting a three per cent raise.

The pay increases for the managers, deputy ministers, doctors and lawyers who don't belong to a union will kick in on July 1.

Many of those workers received large pay hikes last year as well, as part of a restructuring of the civil service.

However, the government says these annual raises are necessary so that workers don't fall behind and the province can retain much-in-demand employees.

"The market continues to move, we need to move in terms of staying relative to it," said Claire Isman, the head of the Public Service Commission. "Otherwise we'll lose ground on a comparative basis."

The Opposition Saskatchewan Party said it approved of the increases.

Saskatchewan Party MLA Wayne Elhard said competitive wages are necessary to keep qualified people working for a professional civil service.

Pay scales for these same workers are also increasing, with the range of pay for each job class increasing four per cent.