Salaries up roughly in line with inflation

Tue Sep 2, 2008 1:19pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian salaries are expected to increase by 3.61 percent this year, a rate slightly below the estimated pace of inflation at year-end, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

Salaries will likely rise by a lesser 3.46 percent in 2009, Watson Wyatt Data Services said in its annual Canadian salary survey.

Inflation hit 3.4 percent in July and the Bank of Canada projects it will quicken further in the months to come. In July, the central bank projected the annualized inflation rate would push past 4 percent as of the fourth quarter although last week it said it now believes the spike will be somewhat weaker than expected due to a drop in energy prices.

The province of Alberta, excluding Calgary, reported the biggest wage increases this year at 3.89 percent, followed by Calgary at 3.86 percent. Quebec, outside Montreal, posted the lowest rise at 3.19 percent. That pattern is projected to persist in 2009.

Demand for engineers was the driving force behind a 4.13 percent hike in salaries within professional and business services firms, Watson Wyatt said.

The second-biggest increase was in the banking and finance sector at 3.99 percent, the survey said. Workers in retail and factories producing. non-durable goods got the lowest raises at 3.32 percent each.

The survey was conducted in May through July and the salary data includes base salary and incentives such as bonuses, commission and options.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson)