Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in British Columbia, 2019

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Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in British Columbia, 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 British Columbia. It also evaluates four non-wage benefits for which data are available to quantify differences in the compensation offered by the two sectors.
  • After controlling for factors like gender, age, marital status, education, tenure, size of firm, type of job, immigrant status, industry, and occupation, the authors found that British Columbia’s government-sector workers (federal, provincial, and local) enjoyed a 5.8% 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 2.3%.
  • Available data on non-wage benefits suggest that the government sector enjoys an advantage over the private sector. For example, 91.6% of government workers in British Columbia are covered by a registered pension plan, compared to 16.6% of private-sector workers. Of those covered by a registered pension plan, 93.9% of government workers enjoyed a defined benefit pension compared to under half (42.3%) of private-sector workers.
  • In addition, government workers retire earlier than those in the private-sector—about 1.9 years on average—and are much less likely to lose their jobs.
  • Moreover, full-time workers in the government sector lost more work time in 2018 for personal reasons (15.1 days on average) than their private-sector counterparts (9.0 days).

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