Compensation in a climate of recovery and growth

PwC National Salary Survey 2018/2019

Trinidad and Tobago’s labour market is currently experiencing notable disruptions and rapid, pivotal changes. There are emerging industries and also notable retrenchments in traditional productive sectors. Organisations, now more than ever, need to review, analyse and leverage talent management and compensation insights to position themselves for recovery and growth nationally, regionally and globally.


  • Trinidad and Tobago’s economy continues to experience a gradual reorientation in the gross domestic product (GDP) away from  its ‘traditional’ primary contributing sectors, with new ‘non-traditional’ sectors experiencing increases while others traditional sectors decline. This has altered the demand and supply for labour. The result has been that, depending on the sector, high labour demand has provided upward pressure on compensation, while low demand resulted in wage stagnation.
  • Low and decreasing productivity continues to be a challenge for local organisations, and the society as a whole; hindering prospects for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and directly contributing to a sub-par organisational performance. In response to the realities of a low growth environment it is imperative that organisations revise their approach to compensation with increased emphasis on compensation elements (e.g. pay-at-risk incentives) that are directly aligned to productivity and performance.
  • Trinidad and Tobago’s economy has returned to positive GDP growth after 2 years of recession, with forecasted growth and expansion particularly in the Services Sector. Globally we have observed that service-sector productivity has become increasingly influential in determining a nation’s ability to compete in today’s technology driven global economy. Simultaneous growth in the local Energy Sector and the Services Sector will contribute to continued growth in the demand for labour and result in higher compensation levels as companies compete for key talent in these sectors in the future.


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Historical Market Perspective – The effect on Compensation of GDP Growth, Inflation, and Unemployment

Trinidad and Tobago GDP, Inflation Rate, Unemployment Rate 1991 - 2017

The economy has showed signs of improvement since the second half of 2017, following two years of recession. This is evidenced by an overall rise in GDP, falling inflation, and a decreasing rate of unemployment in the period 2006 – 2017. This growth is largely attributed to energy sector growth from the second half of 2017. In 2017, real GDP contracted at a slower pace of 2.6 percent after a 6.1 percent drop in 2016. The economy has to returned positive growth in 2018 as energy projects come on-stream, and recovery and expansion takes hold of non-energy sectors.

Trinidad and Tobago’s economy also experienced high growth in Service Sector Areas essential for the realisation of the Economic Development Advisory Board’s (EDAB) National Diversification Strategy. However, there were significant declines in Petroleum Support Services

There was a notable 19% and 12% increase in professional, scientific and technical services and Financial and Insurance activities respectively.  Also notable was a 43% decrease in output in Petroleum Support Services.


Gross Domestic Product by industry 2013-2017 (Millions of TTD)

As shown in the above table, the components of the service sector that experienced the highest growth during the period 2015-2017 were Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (19%), Financial and Insurance Activities (12%), Education (8%), and Transport and Storage (3%). Growth in these areas has assisted in regulating the increase in unemployment due to recession and contraction in other sectors. 

Between Q1 2015 and Q1 2017 there has been an average decrease in Weekly Earnings and an average increase in unemployment across all industries, reducing labour demand and average compensation

Over the period beginning in January 2015, to January 2017, there has been a marked decrease in average weekly earnings across all industries

Index of Average Weekly Earnings 2015- Q1 2017

The chart below illustrates the rising total unemployment rate, with markedly higher rates for females over the period 2014-2017

Trinidad and Tobago Unemployment Rate (ILO)

Industry analysis

GDP Contribution & Growth Trends: The Finance and Insurance Activities Sector experienced robust growth of 12% from our last survey in 2015 and 35% for the 5 year period 2013-2017. The sector continues to expand in its contribution to total GDP and also sees consistent increases in its Base Salary offerings despite a  recessionary and current low – growth environment.

GDP Contribution & Growth Trends: The Trade and Repairs Sector experienced a decline of 16%  from our last survey in 2015, and  15% for the 5 year period 2013-2017. Base Salary offerings for the sector has also shown a notable decline from 2014 to present.

Allowances & Benefits

CEO Allowances and Benefits
VP Finance Allowances and Benefits

Accountant Allowances and Benefits
CEO Allowances and Benefits
Warehouse Manager Allowances and Benefits

Accountant Allowances and Benefits

Contact us

Brian Hackett

Brian Hackett

Territory Leader, Regional Advisory Leader, PwC Trinidad and Tobago

Tel: 1 868 299 0710, Mobile: 1 868 392 7922

Zia Paton

Zia Paton

Partner - Consulting Leader, PwC Trinidad and Tobago

Tel: 1 868 299 0704, Mobile: 1 868 390 6218

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