Organizations holding steady with pay projections: Conference Board

Forecast of 3 per cent down slightly from 3.1 per cent in summer 2011
||Last Updated: 03/02/2012

Despite ongoing threats to the economy, Canadian organizations are holding steady when it comes to pay projections, according to a followup survey by the Conference Board of Canada.

Sixty per cent of 236 employers surveyed believe business conditions will remain about the same in 2012 as they were in 2011 while 29 per cent expect improvements. However, the number of organizations that believe business conditions will deteriorate in 2012 rose from five per cent in the summer of 2011 to 11 per cent in December 2011.

This “cautious confidence” is reflected in the planned salary increase of three per cent for non-unionized employees for 2012, according to the respondents surveyed in December. That is down slightly from a projection of 3.1 per cent in the summer of 2011, said the Conference Board.

About one-half of employers have made no changes to projected average base salary increases since the summer survey while 30 per cent have revised the projections down.

Private sector employers are projecting increases of 3.2 per cent, down from 3.1 per cent, while public sector employers are projecting increases of 2.9 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent in the summer of 2011.

Oil and gas continues to project the highest average salary increase, at 4.5 per cent, found the Conference Board. That is up from 4.3 per cent in the summer survey. Also strong was natural resources (excluding oil and gas) at 4.5 per cent, services — professional, scientific, technical — at 3.5 per cent and chemical, pharmaceutical and allied products, at 3.4 per cent, found the December survey.

Regionally, the highest salary increases are projected for Saskatchewan (3.9 per cent), Alberta (3.8 per cent) and Manitoba (3.6 per cent). These are followed by Quebec and Ontario (both 2.7 per cent), British Columbia (2.6 per cent) and the Atlantic provinces (2.2 per cent).

Almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of employers plan to keep salary ranges constant for 2012. Average projected increases have declined from 1.9 per cent o 1.8 per cent while planned salary budgets have dropped slightly from 3.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent, found the Conference Board.

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