The total compensation of any employed individual or the total payroll cost of an employee is made up of two major segments - salary and benefits. Payroll costs do not include office space, secretarial help, insurance etc., which are created or added to when an employee is on or added to the payroll.

Salary is also made up of two parts - regular salary and overtime compensation (some employers do not provide overtime compensation). Figure 13 summarizes data obtained from the 2001 Employer Salary Survey regarding overtime compensation.

The benefit segment is made up of two parts - the time-not-worked benefits and what might be called the general benefits. Details of what is included in each segment are provided in Employee Benefits which follow.

The percentage (of the total compensation) proportions given in Figure 14 are averages which reflect values for 2001. No given company (or employee) will exactly match these.


There is a wide variation of practice and opinion as to what should be classed as an employee benefit. The definitions described below have been used in this publication.

1. Quoted Yearly Salary or Base Salary

Pay for time worked at normal rates plus the cost of the time-not-worked benefits. Quoted yearly salary does not include payment of overtime.

2. General Benefits

A payment by the employer to the employee directly or to a third party on behalf of the employee to secure for the employee, an advantage or protection of benefit to the employee.

Provision by the employer or the making available of (at no or reduced cost) some facility, object or service of benefit to the employer.

(a) Cash Benefit Payments made by the employer on behalf of the employee for:

i) pension or superannuation provisions.
ii) a hospital, medical, dental, sickness, disability, life, income maintenance, etc., plan.
iii) the Canada Pension Plan, Unemployment Insurance, Workers' Compensation plans (compulsory in Alberta).
iv) termination or severance pay, the premium portion of premium pay, relocation assistance.

(b) No Cash Benefit Provision by the employer, at no or reduced cost to the employee, of: recreation facilities and/or equipment, food, lodging, loans, parking, transportation, educational opportunities, discounts on company products, etc.

3. Time-Not-Worked Benefits
(payments made by the employer to the employee for time not worked)

This is included as part of the Quoted Yearly Salary.

(a) For Monthly or Yearly Paid Employees:
Time off from work (the employee does not have to be at the place of work), or periods when the employee is at work but not working and for which there is no reduction to the quoted yearly salary.

(b) For Hourly Paid Workers:
Payments in lieu of holiday days and vacation days.

(c) Holiday Days
Includes the nine statutory (also called general) holidays in Alberta and declared holidays which may be declared by federal, provincial or municipal authorities (but they become a work holiday only if the employer so declares).

i) Statutory Holidays: New Year's Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, and Christmas Day.

ii) Declared Holidays: Boxing Day and Heritage Day.

(d) Vacation Days

(e) Other Days and/or Periods Sick Leave not covered by 2 (a)ii, travel time, clean-up time, rest and/or coffee periods, personal leave (jury duty, voting, bereavement, maternity, paternity, etc.).


The APEGGA survey collected additional information on other compensation provided to employees. (see Figures 13, 14 and 15). This data indicated 91% of the organizations provide a comprehensive benefits package which includes dental, drug, long-term disability, life/accident insurance and medical plans. At least 83% of employers offered some form of pension plan.

Additional cash compensation was dispursed to approximately 38.6% of the engineers, 76.7% of the geologists and 79.2% of the geophysicists. Figures 15 reports other details on cash compensation.

Information from the survey pertaining to weekly hours of work and overtime compensation are reported in Figures 12, 13, 14, and 15. Vacation entitlement data is report in Figure 16.

FIGURE 12 - Weekly Hours of Work Based on No. of Employers (83) June 2001 (click here to view)

FIGURE 13 - Percent of Employers Providing Overtime Compensation* (Based on Level of Responsibility - All Industries) (click here to view)

FIGURE 14 - Number of Organizations Providing Additional Compensation & Benefits (click here to view)

FIGURE 15 - Addditional Cash Compensation Disbursed June 2001 (click here to view)

FIGURE 16 - Vacation Entitlement (click here to view)



At this step you turn from evaluating the job to evaluating yourself, and how well you are performing the job you hold.

Performance can range from:

(a) very low - new in the job, new in the company, with a minimum of directly related experience so that considerable and fairly close supervision is required, to

(b) very high - five or six years in the job (assuming a "C" Level of Responsibility) so that you perform quickly (you don't have to double-check because you've handled that kind of problem before), you accomplish a great deal, it's accurate and you need little supervision (people know that you will get the job done and that it will be done well).

To illustrate further, if the level "C" engineer noted in Step 3, has a few years' experience in the job, brought no or very little directly relevant experience to the job, has come to the job from outside the company and is still having trouble arriving at a decision or makes poor decisions, submits reports that still need to be checked for accuracy, the level "C" engineer should expect to be paid in the range of $61,000 to $66,000 in 2001.

On the other hand, if after two years, the level "C" engineer makes good decisions quickly, presents reports and recommendations that are normally accepted, starts to see and suggest ways to improve the work and is generally accepted as a strong member of the team, the level "C" engineer should expect to be paid in the area of $66,000 to $70,000 per year.

Salary Trends

The APEGGA Survey collected additional information from employers on anticipated salary adjustments over the next 12 months:

88% of our 83 respondents estimated salaries will increase. (average increase - 3.7%)
3.6% of our 83 respondents estimated salaries will remain stable.
8.4% of our 83 had no response.

Other Considerations

Salary is one of two major components of remuneration received by an employee; the other beings benefits. In order to determine your total compensation, it is important to consider both parts. Section 5 contains information on employee benefits and compensation concepts.

A weakness of the single market survey is that a strong market demand for the services of single occupational group will push salary rates for that group to unacceptably high levels (in relation to the level of responsibility assumed) causing dissatisfaction in related occupational groups and setting up high turnover rates later when demand declines. The opposite also happens when demand is low.

As such, salaries of an occupational group (determined by a strict application of the single market approach) are not efficient in encouraging a steady inflow of quality persons nor in encouraging persons already practicing the occupation to continue to practice. Both of these factors are of concern.

In order to stabilize salaries, some companies consider changes in the economy and actual salaries paid to a variety of other occupational groups, as well as the trends in these.

There are many factors to consider and only some have been referred to above. However, using these factors and/or those considered important by your supervisor or company, you should be able to arrive at a dollar figure which will equate to the value of professional services you are providing for your company.