Competitive wages focus of tourism sector in 2010

Bonuses continue to be important incentive
||Last Updated: 07/06/2011

Tourism businesses focused on competitive wages in 2010, according to a report from the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC).

“In this sector, flexibility in compensation is crucial since businesses are hyper-exposed to the volatility of the economy and other factors that affect revenue and profitability,” said the 2010 Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study, which looked at wages and HR data for 1,961 organizations and 65,799 incumbents.

There was an increase in salaries and wages when compared to the 2008 study. All hourly occupations combined had a greater average increase (8.3 per cent) than all salaried jobs combined (5.5 per cent).

Businesses in Alberta consistently reported salaries and wages above the national median.Conversely, participants from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were generally below the national median for both annual salaries and hourly wages. Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan were also below the national median for salaries but generally above the median for wages. Quebec showed the least variance from the national median for both salaries and wages, making this province the best proxy to the national standard for pay, said the study.

As in 2008, bonuses continued to be an important incentive offered to employees across the sector, particularly at the supervisory and management levels. Bonuses are a strategic compensation element in the tourism sector, said the study, as they allow businesses to reduce total compensation when profitability is down and increase total compensation when profits are up.

More organizations also offered benefits than reported in previous studies. Health and dental, short- and long-term disability and employee life insurance programs were the most frequently reported benefits. The percentage of companies offering employee perquisites and special programs also increased.

Investment in job coaching and training for employees also increased significantly compared to the 2008 results — from 50 per cent to 84 per cent, found the study.

However, there was also a high voluntary turnover rate in the tourism sector (26.1 per cent). Although this rate is partially due to the high percentage of youth and seasonal workers, it is excessive when compared to the Canadian private (9.1 per cent) and public sectors (5.7 per cent), said the CTHRC.

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