Federal employees earn 17.3 per cent more than in private sector: Study

Wages also higher in other public-sector areas including transit and education
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/04/2009

Federal and provincial government employees earn more than their private-sector counterparts, according to a new study.


The study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found federal employees earn on average 17.3 per cent more than employees in equivalent positions in the private sector. 


Wage Watch: A Comparison of Public-sector and Private-sector Wages used Statistics Canada census data of more than 3.7 million full-time employees in 199 occupations, earning an average $60,924 annually in the federal government compared to $51,947 in the private sector.


The research also found an average wage gap of 7.9 per cent between comparable provincial government and private sector occupations across Canada. On average the annual pay of these provincial employees is $52,863 while that of equivalent private sector workers is $49,002.


“We are concerned costs will only continue to be passed on to taxpayers and make it increasingly more difficult for smaller businesses to compete with the public sector in finding qualified staff,” said Catherine Swift, president of CFIB.


Ontario has the highest wage differential of all provincial governments with an average salary of $60,656 compared to $53,682 in the private sector - a difference of 13 per cent. 


These estimates only reflect salary levels and do not take into account the pension, insurance and other forms of benefits that are considerably richer in the public sector. When these are included, the gap widens to 41.7 per cent in the federal public sector and 24.9 per cent at the provincial level. 


The study also found wage differences in other areas of the public sector, with Canada Post employees earning an average of 16.9 per cent more than their private-sector counterparts, transit workers earning 12.9 per cent more, municipal government workers earning 11.2 per cent more, education employees earning 10.8 per cent more and health-care workers earning 8.5 per cent more.