The projected increase for 2013, based on input from more than 500 Canadian organizations in June and July, was 2.9 per cent.
The figures are well below projected increases of 3.7 per cent before the 2008-09 economic downturn.
Hay Group says this year, the highest increases are in the oil and gas sector at four per cent followed by services at 3.3 per cent, credit unions at 3.2 per cent, chemicals at 3.1 per cent and utilities at three per cent.
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Newfoundland and Labrador, at four per cent, Saskatchewan (3.4%) and Alberta (3.2%), lead the country, buoyed by the demand for key skills in the resource sector. Workers elsewhere can expect average increases below the national average at 2.1-to-2.6 per cent.
The sectors with the lowest projections for 2013 are leisure-hospitality at two per cent, retail, consumer durables and forestry and paper all at 2.1 per cent, Overall, the public sector is forecasting noticeably lower salary increases at 2.3 per cent than the private sector at 2.7 per cent.
Canadian projections rank about average against some industrialized nations, above France, Italy and Japan but behind others such as the U.S., U.K., India, China and Russia.