Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Quebec, 2023 Edition

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Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Quebec, 2023 Edition

Main Conclusions

  • Using data on individual workers from January to December 2021, this report estimates the wage differential between the government and private sectors in Quebec. It also evaluates four non-wage benefits for which data are available to quantify differences in compensation in the two sectors.
  • After controlling for factors like gender, age, marital status, education, tenure, size of firm, job permanence, immigrant status, industry, occupation, and full- or part-time status, the authors found that workers in Quebec’s government sector (federal, provincial, and local) enjoyed a 7.8% wage premium, on average, over their private-sector counterparts in 2021. When the wage difference between unionized and non-unionized workers is accounted for, the wage premium for the government sector declines to 4.9%.
  • The available data on non-wage benefits suggest that the government sector enjoys an advantage over the private sector. For example, 93.5% of government workers in Quebec are covered by a registered pension plan, compared to 23.7% of private-sector workers. Of those covered by a registered pension plan, 95.1% of government workers enjoyed a defined-benefit pension compared to 54.6% of private-sector workers.
  • In addition, government workers retire earlier than their private-sector counterparts— about 2.8 years on average—and are much less likely to lose their jobs (4.2% annual job loss rate in the private sector compared to 0.7% in the public sector).
  • Moreover, full-time workers in the government sector lost more work time in 2021 for personal reasons (16.4 days on average) than their private sector counterparts (12.0 days).

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