Wage Growth Over the Past 30 Years: Changing Wages by Age and Education
Economic Insights, No. 8, June 2012
5 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 15, 2012
This article in the Economic Insights series examines two questions: (1) Which groups of Canadian workers have experienced stronger real wage growth over the past three decades?; and (2) To what extent do individuals’ acquisition of education, general work experience, and seniority within firms, as well as their movements into higher-wage or lower-wage occupations and industries, account for differences in real wage growth observed across groups of workers? This article uses data from various Statistics Canada surveys and focuses on the real (hourly or weekly) wages earned by full-time workers. It is based on research carried out at Statistics Canada aimed at providing information on how wage rates of Canadian workers have changed over the past three decades. Wages are expressed in 2010 dollars.
Since the early 1980s, real wages of various groups of workers have grown at markedly different rates in Canada and in many industrialized Western countries. Technological changes, growth in international trade, institutional factors (e.g., de-unionization, changes in minimum wages, and changes in the incidence of pay-for-performance), movements in group-specific labour supplies, and changes in social norms have been cited as potential drivers of this differential wage growth. To help shed some light on this matter, the article examines how real wages of Canadian workers evolved across age groups and education levels from 1981 to 2011.
Keywords: educational indicators, full-time employment, occupations, salaries and wages, work experience
JEL Classification: E24, I2, J3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation