While Canadian employers are fairly optimistic about their own revenue and budget increases in the coming year, they don’t plan to pass on much to their employees. Surveys conducted by human resource firms Mercer, Morneau Shepell and World of Work indicate that Canadian employers plan to increase salaries by an average of close to three per cent in 2015, similar to 2014.

The highest wage increases are expected in mining and oil and gas industries, with hikes averaging 3.4 or 3.7 per cent, down slightly from 2014. At the other end, employers in retail trade are planning to increase their workers’ wages by about 2.5 per cent in 2015. The average base pay increase is similar to what employers expected to provide in 2014, but down slightly from 2012 and 2013.

Once again, employers in Alberta and Saskatchewan expect to provide higher than average pay increases, at 3.2 and 3.1 per cent respectively, while employers in Atlantic Canada and Quebec expect to provide the lowest average pay increases at 2.8 per cent. However, these differentials between regions have narrowed.

Employers plan to give executives and managers higher than average pay increases, similar to last year, but these differentials are also narrowing slightly.

According to the Morneau Shepell survey, one-third of employers with
defined benefit pension plans will be reviewing their pension plan design or level of employee cost-sharing, with one-quarter looking at whether they should convert to defined contribution plans.