Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Alberta, 2019

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Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Alberta, 2019

Main Conclusions

  • Using data on individual workers from January to December 2018, this report estimates the wage differential between the government and private sectors in Alberta. It also evaluates four non-wage benefits for which data are available to quantify compensation differences between the two sectors.
  • After controlling for factors like gender, age, marital status, education, tenure, size of firm, job permanence, immigrant status, industry, occupation, and full- or part-time status, the authors found that Alberta’s government-sector workers (federal, provincial, and local) enjoyed a 9.3% wage premium, on average, over their private-sector counterparts in 2018. When unionization status is factored into the analysis, the wage premium for the government sector declines to 6.2%.
  • The data that are available on non-wage benefits suggest that the government sector enjoys an advantage over the private sector. For example, 70.2% of government workers in Alberta are covered by a registered pension plan, compared to 20.3% of private-sector workers. Of those covered by a registered pension plan, 95.2% of government workers enjoyed a defined benefit pension compared to 31.0% of private-sector workers.
  • In addition, government workers retire earlier than their private-sector counterparts— about 1.8 years on average—and are much less likely to lose their jobs (3.2% in the private sector compared to 0.6% in the public sector).
  • Moreover, full-time workers in the government sector lost more work time in 2018 for personal reasons (12.4 days on average) than their private-sector counterparts (7.6 days).

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