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Projected Salary Increases in Alberta and Energy Sector Up Slightly from Summer 2016

Ottawa, February 15, 2017—A stabilization in oil prices has seen organizations in Alberta and the oil and gas industry adjusting their salary projections since the summer, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Mid-Year Pulse Check of its annual Compensation Planning Outlook survey.

“Canadian organizations’ projected salary increases have generally remained unchanged since the summer except for apparent shifts at industry and regional levels. In particular, we are seeing energy sector organizations responding to the steadied price of oil with greater confidence in business conditions and a slightly better compensation outlook,” said Allison Cowan, Director, Total Rewards, The Conference Board of Canada.


  • Projections for 2017 base salary increases are in line with those reported in the summer of 2016, at 2.2 per cent.
  • Stabilization in oil prices has led to a slight rise in the salary projections of organizations in the oil and gas sector for 2017.
  • Seventy per cent of organizations are planning an annual incentive payout in 2017.

Seventy-seven per cent of oil and gas organizations believe business conditions will improve this year, compared to just 9 per cent in 2016. Meanwhile, nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of organizations across Canada believe that business conditions will improve in 2017. Only 8 per cent of organizations believe that business conditions will deteriorate, and just over two-thirds (68 per cent) believe that conditions will be comparable to those in 2016.

Projected salary increases in the utilities industry have increased slightly from 1.4 per cent in the summer to 1.9 per cent now and the oil and gas industry has seen an uptick from 1.1 per cent in the summer to 1.4 per cent. However, overall salary increase projections have remained muted since the summer as labour market slack continues to put downward pressure on wages.

Regionally, most organizations’ projected increases remain in line with those made in the summer with the exceptions of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Alberta organizations are projecting slightly higher increases since the summer, from 1.4 to 1.6 per cent. In Saskatchewan, they have decreased their projections from 2.4 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

The Conference Board of Canada conducted its Compensation Planning Outlook 2017: Mid-Year Pulse Check survey in December 2016. The survey was sent to all 383 organizations that responded to the Compensation Planning Outlook 2017 survey in the summer of 2016. A total of 208 organizations replied to the mid-year survey, representing a response rate of 54 per cent.

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