Starting salaries for professional jobs to increase 3.4 per cent in 2016: Poll

Tech sector to see biggest pay gains
||Last Updated: 09/02/2015

Canadian starting salaries for professional occupations are expected to increase an average of 3.4 per cent next year, according to the 2016 Salary Guides from Robert Half.

Among the five fields tracked, the technology sector is projected to see the greatest pay gains, with base salaries rising an average of five per cent. Accounting and finance roles followed, with anticipated average compensation increases of four per cent.

The administrative professions registered projected starting salary increases of 3.3 per cent, followed by the legal industry and the creative industry, with average base pay expected to rise 2.7 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively, in 2016.

"Attracting and maintaining skilled professionals continues to be a priority for Canadian organizations as the competition for top talent heats up," said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, international staffing operations. "We are seeing this notably in the technology areas of big data and mobile application development, while in finance and accounting, general accounting and business analysis skills continue to be in particularly high demand."

Retention considerations

When it comes to retention, 71 per cent of the more than 450 professionals polled by Robert Half said a bigger salary would be a top factor prompting them to move to another company. And it would take a 23 per cent salary increase, on average, to compel employees to head for greener pastures.

"Which of the following would most persuade you to move to another company?"

Bigger salary


More growth opportunities


Better work-life balance


Shorter commute


Better title




Accounting and finance: Average starting salaries in accounting and finance are expected to rise four per cent next year. Steady demand persists for professionals such as business systems analysts, staff accountants and financial analysts. Individuals with advanced technology skills, designations and specialized industry experience can command even higher salary increases.

Technology: Information technology professionals' starting salaries are expected to increase five per cent in 2016. Firms in a variety of industries seek big data engineers, mobile applications developers and data security analysts to remain competitive, improve customer experience and keep information secure. Data scientists will see the highest starting salary increase of all the positions included in the 2016 Salary Guides, with projected starting compensation levels rising 8.5 per cent in the coming year.

Creative and marketing: Creative and marketing staff can expect average starting salary gains of 2.1 per cent next year. Content strategy and mobile development roles are in particularly high demand as organizations focus heavily on initiatives that enable them to connect with customers anytime and anywhere.

Administrative and office support: Overall starting salaries for administrative professionals are expected to rise 3.3 per cent in the coming year. As business picks up, firms are bringing on administrative staff to keep things on track, and seek human resources workers to assist with hiring and retention. In addition, continued changes in the healthcare industry are resulting in greater demand for those in coding and customer-facing roles.

Legal: In the legal field, next year's starting salaries are anticipated to rise 2.7 per cent. Increased litigation is driving up demand for lawyers and law clerks with backgrounds in insurance defence and personal injury.

The full 2016 Salary Guides can be accessed at

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