Wage increases for non-unionized Canadian employees are expected to average 3.9% in 2008, with the highest increases going to workers in Western Canada, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

“The shortage of workers in Alberta is creating a ripple effect, putting upward pressure on wages across the country,” says Prem Benimadhu, vice-president, governance and human resources management. “As a consequence, attracting and retaining talent is the number-one priority for compensation and human resource leaders.”

All four western provinces are expected to see average wage gains above the national average. Pay increases for non-unionized workers are expected to average 5.2% in Alberta, 4.6% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 4.2% in British Columbia.

In Eastern Canada, organizations are forecasting increases below the national average.

The oil and gas industry is projecting increases of 5.7% in 2008, highest among all industries. Alberta’s surging economy will continue to drive competition for workers. Moreover, the province’s labour market is expected to become even tighter, since the number of people relocating to Alberta is subsiding due to high costs of living and improved economic opportunities in neighboring provinces.

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Above-average increases are also expected in construction, natural resources(excluding oil and gas), and transportation and utilities sectors. The lowest average increases, at 3.1%, are projected in communications/telecommunications, and services sectors.

Wage settlements for unionized workers are forecast to average 3.1% in 2008.

For more about how the boom is affecting employers, check out Growing Pains and Benefits Boom in the October issue of Benefits Canada. Click here to view the October table of contents page.

To comment on this story, email craig.sebastiano@rci.rogers.com.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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