Female employees at Canadian banks and financial institutions earn 18.4 per cent less per hour in wages than their male colleagues, according to newly released data by the federal government, even as gender pay gaps have narrowed in the country.
Among all the federally regulated private sector industries, banking and financial services have the widest hourly gender wage gap at $0.82, data from 2021 on the the Equi’Vision website that was launched Friday showed. In other words, for every $1 a man makes in the sector, a woman on average makes 82 cents.
The data compares overall compensation by group, calculating the mean hourly wage earned by women versus men as a whole rather than examining the gap in compensation for a certain position or role.
In comparison, the communications sector, which includes radio and television broadcasters, has a 11.4 per cent wage gap between men and women, with female employees earning on average 89 cents in hourly wages for every dollar male workers make.
In the transport sector, which comprises air, rail, bus and water transportation companies as well as postal service and courier postal services, there is a smaller wage gap of 8.4 per cent. Women working in the transportation sector earn 92 cents in mean hourly wages for every $1 men make.
While the pay gap in Canada has been slowly narrowing over the years, male employees continue to earn more than their female counterparts, according to Statistics Canada.
On average, women workers earn 11.1 per cent less per hour than men, the most recent StatCan data from 2021 showed.
Meanwhile, the proportion of women in the workforce is growing.
Get the latest National news.
Sent to your email, every day.
The participation rate (85.1 per cent) and the employment rate (81.6 per cent) of core-aged women from 25 to 54 years hit record highs in November 2022, according to a StatCan report published last year.
Despite having the largest pay gap, the banking and financial services sector has the highest female representation compared with other federally regulated private industries. Women make up 54.7 per cent of all employees in that sector.
The Canadian Bankers Association said banks are “committed to equal pay for work of equal value.”
“The banking industry supports the goal of increasing representation and closing wage gaps for under-represented groups,” said Mathieu Labrèche, vice president of media strategy and communications with the CBA, in an emailed statement to Global News.
“Banks are also dedicated to partnering with government, post-secondary institutions, and other stakeholders to help support, grow and cultivate specialized skills and talent among under-represented groups,” he added.
According to the CBA, since the data released is from 2021, it does not reflect the progress made by the industry over the last three years.
The association is also calling on the government to use adjusted data that consider factors like years of service and location rather than using aggregated numbers, which it believes can skew the results.
A poll released by job search engine Indeed last year showed that 65 per cent of Canadian women feel they are being underpaid in their current positions and 20 per cent say they don’t believe gender wage gaps will ever close in the country.
Advocates say progress has been slow on gender equity, not only in terms of pay, but also in terms of representation.
Mira Kopanarov, founder of Mirable Marketing and The Women’s Connection, told Global News in a previous interview that equal pay can no longer be only a “wishful policy, it has to be based on facts.”
“I believe we need to support each other more, to support not just women in our industries, but all industries and close the gap throughout all business,” she told Global News.
When it comes to female representation in the workforce, the transportation sector lags behind other federally regulated private sector employers with a 29.2 per cent representation rate.
Meanwhile, women make up more than a third (35.6 percent) of the workforce in the communications sector, data showed.
Employment and Social Development Canada says the Equi’Vision web tool was launched to shed “light on the barriers to equity.”
The website lets users compare data on workforce representation rates and pay gaps experienced by women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities in federally regulated private sector industries.
The data, which is searchable based on employers, sectors or locations, comes from figures submitted by federally regulated private sector employers with 100 or more employees as part of their annual reporting under the Employment Equity Act.
However, individual salaries are not shared on the website.
— with files from The Canadian Press
© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.