East Coast salaries on the rise

Smaller and mid-sized employers in Atlantic Canada are upping variable pay packages as they try to compete with larger organizations for scarce and much needed talent.

“Smaller and mid-sized companies can’t compete well when it comes to base salary. So, we are seeing a transition towards heavy performance-based pay,” said Gerald Walsh, president of Gerald Walsh Recruitment Services, an Atlantic Canada-based firm and authors of the 2001 Salary Guide for Atlantic Canada.

Organizations are generally using more flexible benefits and performance-based incentives to attract and retain key staff, the survey found.

But many of the perks and fringe benefits employers lavished on their employees will no longer exist. The days of billiards tables in the office or beer bashes are gone and employers are returning to a normalization of the workplace, said Walsh.

“My sense is that there doesn’t seem to be a perceived need on the part of employers to offer the perks they once did to attract and retain people. What employers found was that those types of benefits didn’t necessarily motivate performance the way they had hoped they would.”

Salaries in general have been climbing steadily in Atlantic Canada, with increases in all sectors.

The largest increase is among marketing and communications companies with sales under $25 million, with an average salary increase of 5.16 per cent.

The human resources profession also experienced a healthy increase of nearly five per cent. In 2001, an HR manager, will make a median salary of $55,000, compared to $50,000 last year.

“Long gone are the days when HR was a personnel department and was mainly reactive. What you see today is a transformation of the HR function into a strategic partner and compensation is reflecting that,” said Walsh.

The survey includes information from 300 Atlantic Canada businesses, as well as from resumes and job searches.

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