How many employers will give raises in 2021?

Very few planning to boost pay above cost-of-living adjustment: Survey

How many employers will give raises in 2021?
Almost three-quarters of Canadian employers froze salaries in response to the pandemic, finds a survey.

More than half (55 per cent) of Canadian companies are back to business as usual while 19 per cent are in growth mode after several months of the coronavirus slowdown, according to a survey by Hays.

Previously, one-third (35 per cent) of employers cut staff but, looking ahead, 36 per cent plan to add headcount. Employment optimism is highest in Ontario and Quebec (both 77 per cent), followed by British Columbia (74 per cent) and Alberta (50 per cent).

However, 71 per cent froze salaries in response to the pandemic. And for 2021, only 19 per cent plan to boost pay greater than an annual cost-of-living adjustment, while 29 per cent are not planning on salary increases.

The biggest number of employers planning no salary increases are those in Alberta (46 per cent), Quebec (33 per cent) Ontario and B.C. (both 23 per cent).

“Employers have been battling through the greatest global downturn since the Great Depression and as we’ve seen from the country’s job numbers, they’re primarily focused on rehiring and regaining lost ground,” says Travis O’Rourke, president of Hays Canada. “It's clear that things like raises, employee training and wellness spending could be on the back burner for some time.”

Nearly half (46 per cent) of Canadian employers are uncertain about whether to increase or freeze salaries, and 13 per cent have already committed to freezing in 2021, according to a survey by Morneau Shepell.

Retention concerns
The result? Forty-nine per cent of employees are seriously considering leaving their current role, which represents a nine-point jump over last year due to a lack of social interaction (45 per cent), isolation (27 per cent) and increased workload (25 per cent).

In looking for a new role, people are looking for benefits (53 per cent), career development (44 per cent) and work-life balance (40 per cent), finds Hays.

Employees in Quebec (54 per cent), Ontario (52 per cent), Alberta (48 per cent) and British Columbia (41 per cent) are the ones most ready to leave.

“Canadian employers are navigating difficult headwinds but the growing number of employees who want to leave their role, even in the face of a tentative job market, is a big problem,” says O’Rourke.

“COVID-19 has left everyone exhausted and while many businesses are improving, staff are waving a white flag. Employees expect a company to have their best interests at heart and we’re now seeing evidence that unsupported teams look for better opportunities. Once we turn a corner on the pandemic or see more signs of job market strength, those employees are gone.”

A high number workers cite a lack of progression and pay as major influences for wanting to leave their jobs, according to a CareerAddict survey released in January.

Mental health suffers
Early in the year, 81 per cent of employees rated their well-being as “positive.” However, as the lockdown unfolded, that dropped almost 20 points to 64 per cent.

And 54 per cent of employers admit that they are doing nothing in the way of employee wellness or mental health assistance, finds the Hays survey.

A Morneau Shepell report published in July noted that the level of mental health support an employer provides to employees can make a difference.

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