Salary and bonus trends for 2013

Posted by: Jesse Semko on December 11, 2012

Canadian employers are experiencing challenges in attracting and retaining employees, according to the results of a survey recently completed by Western Compensation & Benefits Consultants (WCBC), an organization that specializes in assisting companies determine how much to pay, reward and engage their employees.

The WCBC survey included data submitted by more 500 organizations with respect to more than 375 positions. It indicated that about one in three employers are confronted with challenges relating to attracting and retaining employees, with professional and technical positions posing the greatest difficulty for companies.

“Developing and retaining a company’s best performers is one of the top human resource priorities for 2013,” said Barry Cook, a partner with WCBC. “Paying competitive compensation is the most effective strategy to meet this priority.”

The WCBC survey shows that salaries went up approximately 3 per cent nationally in 2012, and that they are expected to increase by a similar amount in 2013. However, the magnitude of salary increases varies by geographic region, sector of the economy and industry. Salary increases will be highest in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with Atlantic Canada and regions of Ontario being lower.

Three quarters of the organizations surveyed award larger salary increases to high performing employees. Typically, those high performers receive increases which are 2 to 2.5 per cent higher than those awarded to average performers.

According to the WCBC survey, employers continue to find that annual bonus programs are an effective way to engage and motivate employees. Such plans are commonly provided for salaried employees, with approximately 90 per cent of the organizations surveyed making payments under these plans for the last fiscal year and a similar proportion expecting to make bonus payments for the next fiscal year. Overall, employers expect the magnitude of bonuses for this fiscal year to be higher than those paid for last year.

Individual and more in depth survey reports on employee compensation are available for a number of job positions throughout a variety of industries, including information technology, engineering and technical services, marketing and sales, production and distribution, and clerical and administrative support positions. Separate reports are available on salary increases, compensation policy, total rewards practices and employee benefits.

More information is available at or by contacting 1 800 781 2411.

Members of the Calgary Chamber are eligible to purchase surveys at reduced prices.