Average pay hike of 2.6% predicted in 2019 for Alberta workers

Projected increases highest in the food, beverage and tobacco products industry, and the oil and gas and technology industries

Mario ToneguzziA report released on Wednesday says the average pay increase for non-unionized Canadian employees is projected to be 2.6 per cent in 2019, up slightly from the 2.4 per cent average increase received this year.

The Conference Board of Canada’s Compensation Planning Outlook 2019 also showed that increases in Alberta would match the national average of 2.6 per cent.

“Over the past few years, we have seen wage increases among the lowest they have been in the past two decades. We are now seeing an improvement and compensation planners are looking to offer increases in 2019 that remain ahead of inflation,” said Allison Cowan, director of Total Rewards HR and labour relations research at the Conference Board of Canada.

The conference board’s report also found:

  • voluntary turnover rates are on the rise and nearly two-thirds of employers report challenges recruiting and retaining employees with specific skills;
  • the professions in highest demand include IT specialists, management, engineering, skilled trades, and sales and marketing;
  • the demand for accounting/finance specialists is decreasing;
  • projected increases are highest in the food, beverage, and tobacco products industry (3.0 per cent) and the oil and gas and technology industries (2.9 per cent);
  • the lowest average increases are expected in the health sector at 1.6 per cent;
  • regionally, Saskatchewan has the highest projected base salary increase at 2.9 per cent and the lowest increases are expected in Manitoba at 2.3 per cent;
  • voluntary turnover increased in the past year, averaging 8.1 per cent, compared with 7.1 per cent in 2017;
  • at 64 per cent, the number of organizations experiencing challenges recruiting or retaining specific skills is slightly more than the 57 per cent who reported the same last year. Challenges vary by industry, with the most acute attraction and retention challenges experienced in wholesale trade (91 per cent), accommodation, tourism, food, entertainment and personal services (88 per cent), and construction (75 per cent).

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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