Western Canadian Wage Discrepancies

Jul 26, 2012

In Western Canada there continues to be a great deal of optimism and a flurry of activity in many sectors.  However, not all Western markets are equal in opportunity or wages.  Using BC as an index base of 100, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba category advantages and disadvantages are shown.

Wage Index for June 2012 (BC Set as Standard)

BC

AB

Sask

Man

Management occupations

100

110

102

94

Business, finance and administrative occupations

100

110

102

90

Natural and applied sciences and related occupations

100

117

95

91

Health occupations

100

105

102

89

Occupations in social science, education, government service and   religion

100

116

106

94

Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport

100

106

89

93

Sales and service occupations

100

105

100

93

Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations

100

115

103

88

Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities

100

118

115

81

If we compare the two largest cities of Vancouver and Calgary, we see that there is a further cost of living disadvantage for BC in terms of skilled professional worker retention.  Comparing similar households (Annual earnings $75,000 Cdn; owned home, 2,000 square; family size: 4; two owned automobiles, value $30,000, 20,000 miles driven per year) a Calgary resident has a 24.2% cost of living advantage over the same Vancouver resident.  Edmonton has a 34% advantage.  Despite the financial gains for employees in Alberta, some would argue, you just can’t put a price on intangible benefits of living in BC –oceans, mountains and mild climates clearly demonstrate there is more than a financial consideration.