Gender wage gap: what has changed since 1998?
Québec, November 21, 2022. – In 1998, the average hourly earnings of women in paid employment amounted to about 83% of men’s earnings. In 2021, this ratio had increased to about 91%, as average hourly earnings were $27.39 for women and $30.16 for men. This was revealed in the publication Analyse comparative des tendances historiques relatives à la rémunération horaire des femmes et des hommes au Québec dans les grands groupes professionnels released by the Institut de la statistique du Québec on November 21, 2022, date of the 26th anniversary of the passing of Québec’s Pay Equity Act.
Women’s-to-men’s hourly earnings ratio, Québec, 1998–2021
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2021. Adapted by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
Women’s-to-men’s hourly earnings ratio has increased by at least 9 percentage points since 1998 for four of the ten broad occupational categories
In management occupations overall, the women’s-to-men’s hourly earnings ratio has risen by 12 points to 91%. In 2021, in this occupational category, average hourly earnings were $44.50 for women and $49.10 for men.
In sales and service occupations, the women’s-to-men’s hourly earnings ratio has increased by 12 points to 92%. In 2021, women in these occupations earned $17.99 per hour, compared to $19.47 per hour for men.
Manufacturing and utilities occupations had a women’s-to-men’s hourly earnings ratio of 79% in 2021, up 12 points from 1998. In this occupational category, average hourly earnings were $19.51 for women and $24.66 for men.
In 2021, in business, finance and administration occupations overall, the women’s-to-men’s hourly earnings ratio was up 9 points to 90%. Women in this occupational category had average hourly earnings of $27.95, while men earned $31.21 per hour.
For the remaining six broad occupational categories, there was no statistically significant change between 1998 and 2021.
|Change in women’s-to-men’s hourly earnings ratio by occupational category, Québec, 1998 and 2021|
|Earnings ratio||Hourly earnings ($)|
|Management||79 %||91 %||+12 points||44.50||49.10|
|Sales and services||80 %||92 %||+12 points||17.99||19.47|
|Manufacturing and utilities||67 %||79 %||+12 points||19.51||24.66|
|Business, finance and administration||81 %||90 %||+9 points||27.95||31.21|
|Natural and applied sciences||85 %||87 %||Not significant||33.77||39.04|
|Health||96 %||99 %||Not significant||29.68||30.02|
|Education, law and social, community and government services||82 %||83 %||Not significant||32.65||39.44|
|Art, culture, recreation and sport||92 %||91 %||Not significant||26.48||29.09|
|Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations||85 %||85 %||No change||23.50||27.73|
|Natural resources, agriculture and related production||72 %||72 %||No change||17.62||24.60|
Note: The available data on hourly earnings ratios only include payroll employment and therefore exclude self-employment.
Differences between hourly and weekly earnings
In 2021, the women’s-to-men’s weekly earnings ratio for all occupations combined was 82.3%, while the ratio for hourly earnings was 90.8%. The ratio for weekly earnings is lower because of the gender gap in the number of hours worked, as women generally work fewer hours than men. However, these differences vary by occupational category.
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