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What’s the gap between the highest and lowest paid workers in Alberta? Part II: Hourly earnings

What’s the gap between the highest and lowest paid workers in Alberta? Part II: Hourly earnings

Posted on: 10/30/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​The Owl examined how average weekly wages in Alberta vary across sectors yesterday.

Among the lowest paid employees are in the retail sector, who earn about $663 per week. The highest paid employees in the province (and indeed, the country) are in the energy sector. Their pay cheques are over $2,300 per week, roughly 250 per cent (or three-and-a-half times) those in retail.

Employees in retail jobs tend to work more part-time hours. Some of these workers might prefer to work full-time jobs and are in this sense underemployed. But other workers such as students, semi-retired people or people who hold down other full-time jobs may be satisfied with part-time positions.

Employees in oil and gas worked an average of 39.5 hours per week in August, including overtime. Retail workers, however, worked an average of 27.2 hours. (The provincial average was 32.1 hours.)

Dividing the total weekly earnings by the number of hours worked narrows the hourly compensation between oil and gas workers and retail workers. Energy sector workers take home roughly $58 per hour, compared to $24 per hour for retail workers. That does reduce the pay gap somewhat — from 3.5 times higher in weekly earnings to 2.4 times higher in hourly earnings.

Average weekly earnings, per hour, graph

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