Employers lower salary increases amid economic uncertainty: Survey

Forecasts down from 2.9 per cent to 2.7 per cent
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 02/17/2015

Against a backdrop of falling oil prices and regional economic uncertainty, many Canadian organizations have lowered projections for 2015 salary increases, according to a survey by the Conference Board of Canada.

The average base salary increases for non-unionized workers is now expected to be 2.7 per cent, down from the projected 2.9 per cent in the summer of 2014, found the December survey of 228 employers.

"Many organizations are waiting to see how the economy fares before finalizing plans. It is likely that we will see further reductions in salary increases, including pay freezes, from organizations in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Energy companies are scaling back on their capital investments, and this is affecting contingent workforce needs and pay decisions," said Ian Cullwick, vice-president of leadership and human resources research. "The next few months will be challenging for employers as they balance the need to retain top talent with affordability."

As of December 2014, employers in Saskatchewan and Alberta were still projecting average salary increases of 3.4 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively, though both will likely see further downward revisions as 2015 unfolds. Salary growth projections for most provinces have been revised slightly downward.

Ontario is the only region whose projection is still in line with its summer forecast, at 2.5 per cent for 2015.

Organizations in the retail and wholesale trade sectors are expecting the lowest increases at 2.3 per cent, followed by education, health, and communications both at 2.4 per cent. With the exception of the communications and telecommunications sector, all industries are at or below their summer projections.

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