Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in British Columbia, 2018

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Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in British Columbia, 2018

Main Conclusions

  • Using data on individual workers from January to December 2017, this report estimates the wage dif-ferential between the government and private sectors in British Columbia. 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, type of job, industry, and occupation, the authors found that British Columbia’s government-sector workers (federal, provincial, and local) enjoyed a 7.5% wage premium, on average, over their private-sector counterparts in 2017. When unionization status is factored into the analysis, the wage premium for the government sector declines to 4.2%.
  • The available data on non-wage benefits suggest that the government sector enjoys an advantage over the private sector. For example, 91.8% of government workers in British Columbia are covered by a registered pension plan, compared to 17.7% of private-sector workers. Of those covered by a registered pension plan, 94.0% of government workers enjoyed a defined benefit pension compared to under half (44.7%) of private-sector workers.
  • In addition, government workers retire earlier than their private-sector counterparts—about 1.9 years on average—and are much less likely to lose their jobs (2.3% in the private sector compared to 0.4% in the public sector).
  • Moreover, full-time workers in the government sector lost more work time in 2017 for personal rea-sons (13.7 days on average) than their private-sector counterparts (9.2 days).

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