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Few signs of wage pressures as employers expect marginally higher salary increases in 2019


  • Aon’s 2018/2019 Canada Salary Planning Report shows employers anticipate nearly flat salary increase levels, but are committed to variable pay for performance
  • Fewer organizations projecting salary freezes in 2019

TORONTO (September 24, 2018) – Although unemployment in Canada is hovering at a four-decade low, new research from Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, suggests that employees can expect slightly larger salary increases for 2019. Aon’s 2018/19 Canadian Salary Planning report, based on a survey of 365 companies, projects base pay to rise by 2.8% in 2019, slightly higher than the 2018 actual average total salary increase of 2.7% (including salary freezes and pay cuts). Only 0.3% of surveyed organizations expect to implement a salary freeze next year, compared with 2% of organizations that reported a freeze in 2018.


“Even though employment in many countries is robust by historical standards, the corresponding surge in salary increases has yet to kick into high gear,” said Yanina Koliren, Partner and Global Compensation Surveys and Solutions Leader, Aon. “Employers are clearly focusing on fostering higher productivity and navigating an uncertain business landscape, and continuing modest inflation undoubtedly is putting a cap on overall employee salary expectations.” “While salary increase expectations for next year remain flat, it’s not all bad news for Canadian employees,” said Suzanne Thomson, Senior Consultant, Talent, Rewards & Performance, Aon. “The salary upside might be limited, but so is the downside, since fewer organizations expect freezes next year. Performance remains the key driver of pay decisions among Canadian companies, suggesting that top employees will continue to be compensated above and beyond general salary increase rates.”

Key Facts:

  • Across all employee groups, the expected base pay increase in 2019 is 2.8%, up by 0.1 percentage points from the 2018 actual increase.
  • Only 0.3% of reporting organizations expect to implement salary freezes in 2019, continuing what will be a three-year trend of declining salary freezes.
  • The average rate of employee turnover decreased in 2018 to 10.2%, from 12.6% in 2017.
  • Organizations awarded an average of 27.6% of their variable pay awards budget to top executives and senior management in 2018, and expect to award 31.3% in 2019.
  • Sectors in which employees can expect higher-than-average increases in 2019 include media and nonbank financial services (3.3%), medical devices (3.2%), mining and construction/engineering (3.1%).
  • Lower-than-average increases are expected in the banking, telecom and transport/logistics sectors (all at 2.4%).


Media contacts

For further information please contact the Aon media team: Alexandre Daudelin, +1.514.982.4910.

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