It pays to work in the oil patch. A recent study by Mercer said the energy sector will continue to boost salary increases in Alberta and across the country in 2015. It said new survey results show the average raise in base pay in Canada is expected to be 3.0 per cent in 2015 – the same as the actual increase in 2014.
In Alberta, the raise in base pay is expected to be 3.2 per cent in 2015, slightly lower than the 3.3 per cent reported in 2014. Salary increases in the energy sector are significantly higher than other industries at 3.9 per cent in 2014 and projected to be 3.7 per cent in 2015, said the report.
The energy sector, oil and gas, has typically been around one per cent higher than the national average. It’s primarily driven because of the oil and gas numbers and the energy sector employers that typically have bigger budgets. This could be because they’re trying to compete with each other for key talent or perhaps the cost of living in Alberta may be high.
Mercer’s 2014/2015 Canada Compensation Planning Survey, which has been conducted annually for more than 20 years, included responses from almost 700 organizations across Canada and reflects pay practices for approximately two million non-union employees. The survey results are captured for five categories of employees: executive, management, professional (sales and non-sales), office/clerical/technician, and trades/production/service.
After Alberta, the projected average salary increase was second highest in Saskatchewan at 3.1 per cent for 2015. Recently, Statistics Canada reported that Alberta continues to have the highest average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees among all the provinces. It said that Alberta’s average was $1,150.61 in May, up 0.6 per cent from April and a hike of 3.1 per cent from May 2013. Nationally, average weekly earnings were $936.64 in May. They were up 0.6 per cent month-over-month and increased by 2.6 per cent year-over-year.
The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector had the highest average weekly earnings at $2,093.70, up by 15.5 per cent from May 2013, which was the highest year-over-year growth rate among all the employment sectors.
Source: Calgary Herald
Experienced Canadian helicopter pilots have expressed their concerns about employers hiring cheap temporary foreign workers instead of them, by denying the experienced pilots these jobs. The pilots say that if left unchecked, this trend of hiring cheap temporary foreign workers could spell the death knell for the industry.
Bill Wadsworth is a helicopter pilot in Mayne Island, British Columbia, with about 25 years of experience. He said that he had recently applied for several jobs at various companies in the province. While he was not selected or shortlisted for any of the jobs he applied for, he did come to know that several companies to which he had applied had subsequently sought cheap temporary foreign workers. Ironically, each of the companies to which Mr. Wadsworth applied had mentioned that they had no openings at the time.
In a subsequent interview, Mr. Wadsworth said that he often came across job postings for pilots that offered hourly rates well below the prevailing industry standards. While this would effectively drive down wages in the near future, according to him, this practice of hiring cheap temporary foreign workers instead of experienced Canadian helicopter pilots would eventually lead to the demise of the industry.
Mr. Wadsworth said that this practice showed how Canadian employers were leveraging foreign workers against experienced Canadian pilots. “They’re leveraging the foreign workers against the Canadian pilots, essentially threatening Canadians by saying: ‘We’re paying these guys so little and we’re only going to pay you 10 dollars an hour more. So you either go with the flow here or we’re hiring TFWs and you’re out of work,” he said.
Kirsten Brazier, a helicopter and fixed-wing pilot in Vancouver has encountered similar experiences. She said that employers were increasingly telling Canadian pilots across the country that the Canadian pilots were under-qualified, thereby emphasizing the need to hire cheaper temporary foreign workers. In doing so, these employers were simply exploiting the loopholes in the system and hoodwinking the federal government.
The Canadian Press examined several applications for temporary foreign workers, filed by private helicopter operators from across Canada and found that these hiring companies have expressed their inability to find domestic candidates who possess the required skills.
Ms. Brazier said that the practice of not employing Canadian pilots would damage the industry in the end, as operators would use the program as a justification for disqualifying competent Canadian pilots.
Source: The National Post