Canadian base salaries to rise 2.6%: Hay Group

Survey results show a decline since the beginning of the economic downturn.

August 27, 2015   by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO — Canadians can expect to see average base salary increases of 2.4% in 2016, according to a national survey by the Hay Group, a global management consulting firm.

The survey, conducted in June and July, received responses from 525 public and private sector employers.

The 2.4% projection, down 0.2% from 2015, continues a downward trend in Canadian salary increases the beginning of the economic downturn in 2008/2009.

US salary projections remain the same as 2015 (3%).


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Seventy per cent of Canadian employers say they will provide base salary increases next year, much less than last year when 83% of employers said they would do so.

The Hay Group attributed the decline to continued economic uncertainty across many sectors in the economy and that more employers are now adopting a “wait and see” position before increasing their budgets.

With such high demand for skilled labour, workers in the oil and gas sector have traditionally received the highest salary increases, but collapsing oil prices over the last year means they are looking at the lowest increases at 1.5% as employers shed jobs and the labour supply exceeds demand.

Credit unions (3%), leisure/hospitality (3%) and insurance (2.9%) will lead all sectors with higher increases than the national average.

Saskatchewan (2.7%) and Alberta (2.5%) still lead the country, but their increases are lower than in recent years because of global softening in commodity prices, particularly in the Alberta oil and gas sector.

Other findings:

• For all organizations, actual base salary change in 2015 was 2.2%, lower than the 2.6% projected in the survey because economic performance across Canada has not lived up to predictions

• By job level, most positions will be at or above the national average of 2.4%. Only unionized clerical/operations positions (2.2%) will see average increases below the national average.

• Saskatchewan (2.7%) shows the highest 2016 base salary projections, followed by Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec at 2.5%.

• Alberta’s projection (2.5%) is down from last year’s projection of 3.1%, showing the impact of the economic decline from the collapsing oil prices

• Manitoba’s projection (2.5%) is an increase from the 2.3% projected for 2015.

• BC’s projection (2.3%) falls below the national average of 2.4%.

• No change to the Ontario and the GTA projections of 2.5%.

• Quebec’s projection (2.5%) declined from 2.6% for 2015 and Maritimes (1.9%) declined from 2.1%.

• Projections for countries such as US (3%) US and Australia (2.5%), and Canada (2.4%) continue to lag behind those for India (10.8%), Brazil (7%) and China (preliminary results show 7.6%).

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