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Salary Surveys — Getting Compensation Right

Determining what to pay employees is one of a business’s most important and difficult decisions.

We can look at several sources of external wage data, in addition to the anecdotal method of asking candidates or employees. Alternatively we can base pay rates on a mix of personal and business performance and worry less about external data.

External Sources of Salary Data

Employers have many choices when it comes to gathering external data.

  • Here at Red Seal we conduct quarterly salary surveys for Heavy Duty Mechanics, Power Line Technicians, Millwrights and Electricians which can help our clients in their search for the right compensation structure. These surveys add to a number of government, private and association salary surveys which may be available to employers.
  • The Government of Canada publishes salary data by industry, profession, province and region. These surveys are good but Service Canada’s survey is based on National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes. One of the difficulties in using the NOC is they classify apprentices with journey persons and junior engineers with senior engineers.
  • Statistics Canada on the other hand tracks earnings by industry across Canada which may be helpful in determining raises once salaries are set.
  • Professional and industry associations  can be excellent sources for salary data with associations often conducting member salary surveys.
  • Some of the best and most detailed salary surveys come from Engineering Associations, such as Apega in Alberta.
  • Finally, there are consultants and companies that specialize in advising and collecting compensation data.

Salary and compensation decisions are critical to any business’s success; the right pay rate structure can help you attract skilled workers into your organization and will contribute to employee retention and satisfaction. Using good source data is the key to getting it right.

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