Education level doesn’t close gender wage gap

CHRISTINA SPENCER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:02 PM ET

OTTAWA — More working women than men hold university degrees, but that higher education hasn’t helped close the wage gap.

A comparison of 2006 census data with figures from 2001 shows that average full-time income for working Canadians rose to $51,221 in 2005 from $48,563 five years earlier.

For men, full-time average salaries increased about $3,300 — from $55,210 to $58,537.

For women, already starting at a lower base, the increase was also smaller. They moved from $39,135 to $41,331, a boost of around $2,200.

Yet by the year 2005, more women than men held university degrees or certificates, the reverse of the situation at the turn of the 21st century.

The comparisons, done by Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, showed almost 1.6 million men with university degrees or certificates in 2000, increasing to almost 1.93 million in 2005. For women, the increase went from just over 1.5 million to more than 1.97 million in the same time period.

Jedwab was surprised by the wage numbers.

“I did hope that women would narrow the gap a bit more. We’ve presumably made a lot of progress on a number of fronts — at least, anecdotally one gets that impression, that progress is being made, value changes have continued to move in a direction where we recognize greater gender equality,” he told QMI Agency.

“But that equality doesn’t appear to be translating to a significant extent into reconciling the differences in remuneration that men and women are earning in the market,” Jedwab said.

In the 25-to-44 age category, a key group in terms of anticipating future trends, other differences emerged. Among non-visible-minority women, wages weren’t increasing as fast as they were for men. But among visible minorities, women in this age bracket appeared to close the gap slightly.


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