Alberta Public-sector wages are “statistically indistinguishable” from private sector

U of T study busts myth that public-sector wages out-of-line with the private sector

Edmonton – Alberta’s public-sector workers are paid, on average, the same as their private-sector counterparts, according to data compiled by the University of Toronto (U of T) and released today by the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL).

“This study should silence the critics who continuously repeat the falsehood that Alberta’s public sector workers are overpaid,” AFL president Gil McGowan said.

The University of Toronto’s Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity found that Alberta public-sector wages are on-par with private sector wages across the spectrum of comparable occupations.

“For years, public-sector workers have had to endure snipes that they’re overpaid and greedy, but this is simply not true,” McGowan said. “Public sector employees work hard for their money and provide services that are key to the health and prosperity of our province. It’s time to put all of these politically-motivated, negative stereotypes to bed.”

Using data from Statistics Canada, researchers found that people working in occupations at the lower-end of the wage scale, such as clerical and childcare workers, enjoy higher wages in the public sector than they would if they worked in the private sector. However, the reverse is true for higher-wage jobs, such as those in management, engineering, science and the skilled trades.

When these differences are averaged out across the public sector the U of T study concluded that the average wages paid in Alberta’s public and private sectors are “statistically indistinguishable.”

AFL Backgrounder: Public-sector Wages



Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)
or via e-mail