Good and Bad News from Canadian HR Depts.

December 10, 2009 ( – From the good news and bad news department comes word that 27% of employers in a new Canadian poll are pondering a 2010 hiring freeze – down from as many as 39% last year - but the average salary hike for 2010 is also down.

A Hewitt Canada news release also said that while 81% of the Canadian employers won’t give employees a holiday gift or a bonus, 79% have planned a holiday office party. The most popular type of party is for employees and guests, entirely company funded by 61% of employers. Less common is a holiday celebration for employees only (31%), though 84% of employers foot the entire bill for these festivities – on average less than $100 per employee.

Only 19% of Canadian employers will provide their employees with a holiday gift or bonus at the end of this year, generally cash (38%), a gift card or certificate (32%), or a gift chosen by the company (22%).

Those who have decided to thaw their salary freezes or increase original budgets are responding to the economic recovery (58%), higher increases provided by their competitors (27%), or the fact that their expectations for corporate performance are better than initially forecast (22%).

Hewitt said the average increase has dipped a little in most parts of Canada, other than Saskatchewan, where employees can expect raises of 4.1%.

Those planning to decrease their original pay hike projections are doing so for three main reasons: the organization is undergoing cost reductions (58%), has concerns about the economy (56%), or is reacting to lower increases planned by its competitors (23%).