09/09/2016 08:59 EDT | Updated 09/09/2016 09:04 EDT

Canadian Salaries To See Some Of The Slowest Growth In 2 Decades: Mercer Canada

The cost of living isn't getting any cheaper, either.

Life just keeps getting more and more expensive for Canadians.

Earlier this year, Statistics Canada reported that prices for items such as food and shelter were up 1.7 per cent — while at the same time, Canadian paycheques had only grown by 0.7 per cent.

That trend is likely to continue, if the results of a survey by Mercer Canada can be believed.

The survey found that salaries are only expected to grow by 2.6 per cent in 2017, which is among the slowest paces that Mercer Canada has seen in over 20 years.

That's down from 2.8 per cent in 2016 and three per cent in 2015.

The fading salary hikes reflect "ongoing concerns among employers about the health of the economy," Gordon Frost, market business leader with Mercer's Canada Talent business, said in a statement.

The Syncrude oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Nov. 3, 2011. (Photo: Todd Korol/Reuters)

And next year's increase is even lower when you account for salary freezes. With them in mind, salaries are only expected to grow by 2.3 per cent.

Salaries in Alberta are expected to grow at an even slower pace than the national average because as many as 40 per cent of energy companies plan on freezing wages next year.

A large oil refinery along the Athabasca River in Alberta's oilsands in Fort McMurray, Alta. (Photo: Getty Images)

The number of companies that plan on freezing salaries is an improvement over the 60 per cent that planned to do so this year, The Globe and Mail reported.

But the energy sector is still expected to see a salary increase of only 1.3 per cent in 2017, the newspaper added.

"This is also the first time our survey found the energy sector projecting salary increases below the other sectors."

Employee pay in Greater Calgary alone is projected to grow by 2.1 per cent, when accounting for salary freezes.

Alberta, minus Greater Calgary and Greater Edmonton, is expected to see salary growth of two per cent.

"This is ... the first time our survey found the energy sector projecting salary increases below the other sectors," Frost said.

Mercer Canada arrived at its data by surveying almost 500 organizations throughout Canada.

The results looked at five employee categories: management, executive, professional (sales and non-sales), trades/production/service, and office/clerical/technician.

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