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Employers to raise salaries 2.6% on average next year: report

Firm points to factors such possibility of more trade protectionism, rising interest rates

Canadian employers expect to give staff a 2.6-per-cent raise on average next year, a new survey suggests.

Morneau Shepell, a human resource firm based in Toronto, released a report on Tuesday saying the anticipated salary bump is consistent both with last year’s average increase of 2.6 per cent, as well as with inflation.

Another 4.6 per cent of employers said they do not plan to increase staff pay.

“Employers remain guarded about salary increases, perhaps reflecting anxiety over the possibility of more trade protectionism, rising interest rates and a Canadian economy operating close to its capacity,” said Anand Parsan, vice president of compensation consulting.

B.C. and Alberta business owners expect a slightly higher than average raise, at 2.8 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

Employees working in real estate, rentals and leasing can anticipate a 3.8-per-cent raise on average; staff in professional, scientific, technical and educational services can look forward to 3.0 per cent; and people working in public administration can await 2.8 per cent.

Those industries, the report noted, might be catching up after years of less than average growth.

Workers in information and cultural industries, health care, social assistance, arts, entertainment, and recreation might not be so lucky, with employers foreseeing raises as low as 1.5 per cent.

With an aging labour force, the report said employers offering lower raises need to try other methods to keep and attract employees.

“With limited funds to spend on salary increases, employers need to take a step back and look at the entire picture,” said Parsan.

“Intangible items such as flexible work arrangements, health and wellness, coaching and mentoring, learning and advancement opportunities and special recognition programs might be the edge employers need in the war for talent.”

Money aside, employers were looking to address emerging issues like the legalization of marijuana on Oct. 17 and the #MeToo movement.

“There are many misconceptions about cannabis that lead to an underestimation of the risk to personal health and well-being in certain situations,” said Paula Allen, vice president of research and integrative solutions.

“Managers need to be trained effectively. As well, employees need to be educated.”

The survey suggests 84 per cent of employers already have zero tolerance policies to address sexual harassment at work, and 25 per cent were planning to bring in new processes in the next year and a half.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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