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Radhika Panjwani is a former journalist from Toronto and a blogger.

After shouldering heavy workloads, economic uncertainty and frozen wages for some two years now, glad tidings are on the way for many Canadian workers.

Employees across a wide cross-section of industries will receive an average annual pay increase of about 2.7 per cent in 2022, according to LifeWorks, a human resources services and technology company based in Toronto.

The downside? The increases will be lower than the rate of inflation. The consumer price index rose 4.7 per cent in November from a year earlier, the highest increase in three decades.

The expected 2022 raises come a year after 12 per cent of organizations did not give salary increases, and in 2020, when 36 per cent of employers froze salaries, according to insights from the LifeWorks report.

The LifeWorks survey of 829 organizations, conducted in July 2021, also found that while most non-unionized employers plan to offer a wage hike in 2022, 18.3 per cent said they are undecided.

“Only 3.3 per cent of organizations are projecting salary freezes next year, which indicates that employers are recognizing the necessity of boosting pay and rebranding their total rewards value proposition in an effort to attract and retain key talent,” Anand Parsan, LifeWorks partner and national practice leader of compensation consulting, said in a news release.

Sector-wise salary

The sectors with the highest projected average salary increases are wholesale trade (3.1 per cent), construction (3 per cent), information technology (3 per cent), and accommodation and food services (3 per cent). In contrast, those in health care and social assistance (2 per cent), educational services (2 per cent), and information and cultural industries (1.9 per cent) are projected to have the smallest salary increases.

Employee retention: Beyond the dollar

Last month international staffing firm Robert Half released the findings of its research and survey of 502 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees across Canada. Nearly 63 per cent said their company plans to award year-end bonuses. Ninety per cent said they will offer raises in the next six months to account for employee performance, cost-of-living increases, competitive pressure for staffing, and wage stagnation since the start of the pandemic.

Insights from the 2022 Salary Guide from Robert Half shows robust compensation packages will be critical for recruiting new talent and retaining current employees in Canada, noting that one in five workers surveyed for the research said they would leave without another job lined up. Professionals are particularly in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating a raise or new role and they are interested in more than just pay, the report said.

Michael French, a regional director at Robert Half Canada, calls the upheaval in Canada’s labour market “The Great Reshuffle,” contrasting it with the “Great Resignation” said to be happening south of the border. A smaller proportion of Canadians are planning to leave working life altogether, he said, and are more likely to be thinking about opportunities elsewhere, taking into account priorities such company culture, flexibility and the opportunity to negotiate wages.

Mr. French said employers would be far better off to ensure they are paying their employees a competitive salary instead of scouting new talent. But he also cautioned that employees should not focus on salary alone but consider other factors as well.

“The dollar should not be your destination; it’s just one of the stops to consider,” Mr. French said. “Does your job give you the flexibility to have a fulfilling personal life? Does it allow you to go to your kid’s soccer game on Tuesdays at 3 p.m.?”

What I’m reading around the web

  • You may have heard of Google’s 20 per cent rule. Google workers, in addition to their regular projects, are encouraged to spend 20 per cent of their time working on what they think will most benefit the company. Many of Google’s significant programs (such as AdSense and Google News) happened because of employees following the 20 per cent rule. So, how can you pursue those development opportunities? This article shows you how.
  • Stalkerware is a commercially available software that’s used to spy on another person through their device – usually a phone – without their consent. It can allow the user to view someone else’s messages, location, photos, files, and even eavesdrop on conversations in the phone’s vicinity. This story in BBC News says there has been a dramatic increase in stalkerware.
  • Goodbye Photoshop, hello, Artificial Intelligence. The AI models developed at OpenAI, a San Francisco-based AI research startup founded by Elon Musk and others, can successfully generate photorealistic images from text description. For instance, one can just type, “Einstein wearing a superhero costume,” and OpenAI will generate an image immediately, says this article in ZME
  • Looking for career advice from a wide range of sources? Here’s 45 tips for finding success. This collation of wisdom from career coaches to CEOs has something for everyone.

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