Salary increases going back to ‘cautious normal’

Average national wage hike of 2.9 per cent predicted for 2011
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/20/2010

When it comes to compensation outlooks for 2011, the experts pretty much agree — Canadian employers are planning salary increases in the range of 2.9 per cent. Salary surveys by six firms (Aon, Hay Group, Hewitt, Mercer, Morneau Sobeco and Towers Watson) predict the 2009 economic crisis’ downward impact on salaries is subsiding.

“We’re considering it sort of back to cautious normal,” said Shelley Peterson, a principal at Mercer’s human capital business in Toronto. “The vast majority of organizations are planning to grant increases and budgets are perhaps a little lower than, let’s say, five years ago, but within a reasonable, expected range.”

The 2.9-per-cent salary increase planned for 2011 is up over the increases awarded in 2010 (2.7 per cent) and well ahead of 2009 (two per cent), found Mercer’s survey of 600 Canadian employers. And the number of employers that froze salaries dropped from 31 per cent in 2009 to six per cent in 2010. For 2011, only two per cent are planning freezes.