‘Substantial’ gender wage gap persists in Canada: study

A substantial wage gap between men and women continues to exist in Canada, according to a new study commissioned by ADP Canada Co.

Based on self-reported numbers, the study found women earned an average pre-tax salary of $51,352 in 2019, while men reported an average pre-tax salary of $67,704 — a gap of 24 per cent. Looking further at additional compensation, such as bonuses and profit-sharing plans, men received an average additional $7,646, while women received $3,250. 

“A substantial compensation gap persists between men and women in Canada, a gap that doesn’t entail salary alone,” said Natalka Haras, legal counsel at ADP Canada, in a press release. “The workforce of tomorrow is aware today to look for gender biases in companies’ practices and policies. For organizations to succeed in attracting and retaining the very best of workers, they will need to be transparent and take the proactive steps required to achieve pay equity and equality.”

Read: Most Canadian employers not tracking gender pay gap: report

Despite the gap, many of the study’s respondents said they feel their organization is acknowledging the bias and prioritizing pay equality. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians employees said they believe pay equality is a priority for the management of their workplace. However, men were more likely to say their employer walks the talk — 79 per cent of men said they believe their workplace compensates women and men equally, while only 67 per cent of women said the same.

The survey also found millennials are most likely (49 per cent) to switch employers if they were to find out pay equity isn’t being achieved in their workplace. The study noted this is a strong sign that the workforce of tomorrow strongly supports equal compensation in their workplace.

In addition, despite the new parental sharing benefit launched by the federal government in March 2019, the study found women are still much more likely (42 per cent) to take leave compared to their male counterparts (16 per cent).

Read: Employers urged to prepare for incoming EI parental sharing benefit

Overall, Quebecers took the most parental leave — 41.6 per cent compared to an average of 24  per cent across the rest of Canada.

Among respondents who had taken maternity or paternity leave, 31 per cent said they felt it restricted their career growth. Respondents from Alberta were most likely to feel this way (52 per cent), while Manitoba and Saskatchewan were least likely (22 per cent).