Cautious optimism for 2011 salaries: Aon Canada Survey

Aon's annual Pay Increase Survey, whose initial results suggest organizations are slowing down on freezing salaries, now confirm that the overall trend for salary increases next year should be viewed with cautious optimism.

Among the 329 organizations surveyed, only 1 out of 11 survey participants expect to freeze salaries in 2011. This is a marked difference from previous years when 1 out of 6 respondents implemented salary freezes in 2010 compared to 1 out of 3 in 2009.

Organizations are expecting to give higher increases in 2011 than in 2010. The overall salary budget increase is expected to rise to approximately 2.8 per cent (3 per cent when excluding salary freezes), yet organizations are holding salary structure increases steady at 2 per cent.

A more detailed analysis of the results indicates very little difference among provinces and industries in terms of salary increase budget.

"I think the overall message is cautious optimism-optimism in that people have a tendency to no longer freezing salaries; however, cautious in that the numbers have not increased dramatically year over year," notes Matt Walker, manager, Reward Surveys.

"There is not a big difference in results across industries or regions across the country. It may not be surprising to see a similar range (i.e., anywhere between 2.5 to 3 per cent) being reported by other firms," adds Stéphane Paré, vice president at the firm's Montreal office.

Aon's survey was conducted between mid-June to mid-August and reflect the most recent data available. The firm will advise its clients of the actual increase results for 2011 when the numbers are reported in January.

Aon Consulting is one of Canada's leading integrated human capital consulting and outsourcing firms. Our more than 800 Canadian professionals in 12 offices coast-to-coast offer benefits, talent management and rewards strategies and solutions to help clients attract, retain and develop world-class talent. Driven by inspired and independent thinking, Aon Consulting is committed to delivering innovative and personalized business solutions with tangible value to help clients shape their organization into the workplace of the future. For more information, visit