Wage gap, by educational attainment

Wage gap between men and women narrows as education level rises

  • Higher levels of education are generally associated with higher wages. The supply of workers with very high levels of education is fairly limited, driving up their earnings. Sometimes education is also used as a screening criterion that indicates a capacity to learn new abilities or to apply critical thinking in new ways. In 2007, employees with master's and doctoral degrees earned an average of $30.44 per hour, 75% more than employees with just a high school diploma ($17.37 an hour).

  • The higher the level of education, the narrower the wage gap between the sexes as a proportion of earnings, except for people with some postsecondary education. However, women's hourly wages remain below men's for all levels of education. For example, in 2007, women with a bachelor's degree earned 85 cents for every dollar earned by men, while women with an educational level of Grade 8 or less earned 72 cents for every dollar earned by men.

  • Since 1997, the hourly wage in 2007 constant dollars has declined for both men and women who do not have a high school diploma (Grade 8 or less, or some high school). In contrast, workers with a postsecondary certificate or diploma enjoyed the largest increase in wages (+5.0%). While employees with master's or doctoral degrees had the highest wages in 2007, their earnings in 2007 constant dollars were at about the same level as in 1997.

Chart J.4
Wage gap by educational attainment, 2007: cents earned by women for each dollar earned by men

Chart J.4 Wage gap by educational attainment, 2007: cents earned by women for each dollar earned by men

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.

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