Average salary increases projected at 2.6 per cent in 2016: Survey

Fewer employees saw increases in 2015 than 2014

In a slow-growth economy, Canadian organizations are planning for another year of moderate base salary increases for 2016, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s Compensation Planning Outlook 2016.

It is projecting projects average increases for non-unionized employees to be 2.6 per cent next year, with the lowest increases going to workers in British Columbia and Alberta.

“Employers remain cautious about Canada’s economic performance and are opting for modest wage increases, similar to that provided in 2015”, said Lynn Stoudt, vice-president of leadership and human resources research at the Conference Board of Canada. "The effects of the drop in oil prices have been felt most strongly in Alberta and accordingly employers in the province are planning for lower increases."


  • In 2015, 74 per cent of employees received a salary increase, down from 86 per cent who received increases in 2014.
  • The base pay increase for non-unionized employees is expected to average 2.6 per cent in 2016.
  • Workers in Alberta are expected to have one of the lowest average increases in the country at 2.4 per cent, down significantly from the average increases they have seen in recent years.

While salary increases in Alberta outpaced the national average for a number of years, this year workers in the province can expect increases averaging 2.4 per cent, ahead of only British Columbia at 2.3 per cent. Saskatchewan and Manitoba employers have the highest projected average increases of 3.2 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively, found the survey of 370 employers.

The oil and gas and natural resources sectors saw involuntary turnover rates nearly double since last year, increasing to 10.4 and 7.5 per cent, respectively. Overall, employees in the oil and gas industry can expect increases averaging 2.1 per cent in 2016.

Compared with 2014, fewer Canadian employers report challenges recruiting or retaining staff, said the Conference Board. The percentage of organizations experiencing difficulty recruiting and retaining employees this year has decreased to 59 per cent, down from 64 per cent last year.

The top professions in highest demand include specialist IT, skilled trades, engineering, management, and sales and marketing.

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