Comparing Public and Private Compensation in Alberta

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As Alberta?s provincial government continues to struggle with deficits and as it tries to constrain spending, there is heightened interest in how wages and non-wage benefits (i.e., total compensation) in the public sector compare with those in the private sector. This study replicates a previously used methodology by which to compare wages in the two sectors. It then compares some available non-wage benefits more generally in an attempt to quantify compensation differences between the province?s public and private sectors.

This paper is divided into three distinct sections. The first reviews past research comparing the compensation of the public and private sector workers. The second section presents and explains the wage comparisons between the private and public sectors (broadly defined) in Alberta. It also presents a summary of the methodology employed to compare and calculate differences in wages between the two sectors. Finally, the third section compares three available non-wage benefits, namely, pension coverage, the age of retirement, and layoffs, in order to gauge the generosity of non-wage benefits in the private and public sectors.

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