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Gender pay gap in Canada: Survey shows slow progress

by HR Law Canada

A recent survey conducted by ADP Canada in collaboration with Maru Public Opinion indicates that the gender pay gap in Canada is slowly narrowing.

However, the study reveals that working Canadians who identify as women still earn an average of 21 percent less than their male counterparts, representing a decrease of 3 percentage points from 2021.

The survey collected self-reported gross salaries for the year 2022 from both part-time and full-time employees. The findings revealed that men reported an average salary of $72,743, while women reported an average of $57,725. This disparity translates into a yearly deficit of over $15,000. Furthermore, the study found that 33 percent of Canadian men declared earnings exceeding $80,000 in 2022, compared to only 18 percent of women.

The impact of these pay discrepancies is significant, as nearly half (47%) of Canadian workers stated that they would contemplate leaving their current employer if they discovered that a colleague of the opposite gender, but with equal seniority and tenure, received higher compensation. Notably, this sentiment was more prevalent among women, with 50 percent indicating a likelihood of leaving their employer under such circumstances, compared to 44 percent of men.

The survey also highlighted generational differences in attitudes towards the gender pay gap. Approximately 63 percent of Generation Z respondents and 53 percent of Millennials expressed their willingness to consider leaving their positions in the face of salary inequalities. In contrast, only 37 percent of Generation X and 32 percent of Baby Boomers shared the same perspective.

Heather Haslam, Vice President of Marketing at ADP Canada, emphasized the importance of pay equity and equal access to higher-paid positions for all genders within the Canadian workforce. She suggested that regular salary audits could help organizations address internal gender pay gaps and ensure fair and equitable compensation. Additionally, reviewing recruitment practices and fostering open communication between colleagues and managers can contribute to attracting and retaining top talent.

Despite the persistence of the gender pay gap, the survey revealed that a significant majority of working Canadians (71%) believe that pay equity is a priority for their organizations. This sentiment was consistent among both men (70%) and women (72%). Haslam concluded that building a culture of equality and transparency is crucial, as job seekers increasingly consider discrepancies in salaries and other inequalities when evaluating potential employers.

The Maru Public Opinion survey was conducted from March 6th to March 9th, 2023, and involved 1,556 employed Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists. The results were weighted to match the demographic distribution of the Canadian adult population. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.5%.

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