Canadian Manufacturing

New research reveals compensation trends amid COVID-19

by CM Staff   

Financing Human Resources

82% of senior managers worry about losing top talent; of those, 41% say salary reductions and planned salary freezes are to blame

Compensation and Considerations Amid COVID-19 (PHOTO: Robert Half Canada)

TORONTO — Employers have a growing list of concerns lately, including losing their employees, new research from global staffing firm Robert Half shows. A majority of senior managers surveyed (82%) said they are worried about their company’s ability to retain valued staff, with 34% being very worried. Of those respondents, 41% attribute their concern to salary reductions or planned salary freezes for the near future.

“The pandemic has caused organizations to shift into high gear, and many employees have taken on heavier workloads”, said David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half, in a prepared statement. “Although some companies are offering non-monetary perks such as options for greater flexibility in the workday or access to important health and wellness resources, many have also been forced to reduce or freeze salaries. Because of this, employers have growing concerns about their ability to retain high-performing employees as they continue to weather the economic impact of COVID-19.”

Even in a time of high unemployment, a majority of companies are offering new recruits pay that meets or exceeds pre-pandemic numbers. More than half of senior managers surveyed (56%) said starting salaries for new hires have held steady since COVID-19 began. And about one in five respondents (19%) noted an increase in base compensation.

More than 8 in 10 senior managers (81%) noted they are as likely to negotiate salary with new hires today than a year ago. Of those, 24% said they are more open to discussing starting pay with candidates now compared to 12 months ago.


Managers at mid-size companies (500 to 999 employees) and managers in the technology industry were more likely to have an increased willingness to negotiate salary than they did a year ago.

“Employers are putting a premium on professionals with the skills and expertise needed to support new business priorities resulting from the pandemic,” said King. “When it comes to negotiating job offers, not only do these candidates have an edge, but we’re finding employers are also more open to discussing compensation earlier in the hiring process. Now is a critical time to be aware of current salary trends to ensure you’re prepared to offer the competitive salaries needed to quickly secure top talent.”


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