The figures, revealed in the firm’s Human Resources Trends report, include a sharp drop in salary expectations in the energy sector; last year employers in gas, oil and mining were predicting increases of 3.4 per cent but those sectors are looking at 2.4 per cent for 2016.
For public sector workers it could be even worse with educators only expected to receive 1.9 per cent extra. If the Bank of Canada achieves its 2 per cent inflation target those workers will be worse off.
Other sectors are looking more positively at next year with financial services expecting pay rises of 3 per cent on average; scientific, professional and technical services won’t be far behind at 2.9 per cent.
Although these reflect employers’ expectations as national averages, provincially most provinces are predicting close to the national figure while Alberta’s expectation is for 2.2 per cent and other parts of western Canada are forecasting above-average increases of 2.7 per cent.
Extra cash is not the only benefit for employees of course and 66 per cent of respondents say that increasing health and engagement is a priority next year as well as coping skills, with almost a third expecting to introduce training in that area in 2016.
Training for managers in mental health in the workplace is also a key focus for next year with almost a third of employers; this ties in with around 40 per cent that want to bring down the cost of sickness and disability.
Economic uncertainty has led to employers expecting salary increases to be lower in 2016 than this year. Analysis by consultancy firm Morneau Shepell found that, including pay freezes, employers are expecting to pay an average of 2.5 per cent more next year following an expected average of 2.8 per cent in 2015.