Government of New Brunswick

1. What is the wage gap?

Wage gap is the difference between the average wages earned by men and the average wages earned by women.



2. What causes the wage gap?


The wage gap is caused by outdated societal attitudes and beliefs about the place and value of women in the workplace and the behaviours these attitudes and beliefs foster.

Contributors to the wage gap are:

1. The balancing of work and family responsibilities of working women 
Because of family responsibilities, due to family needs, women will take jobs that do not compete with family or work fewer hours than men; or, women cannot commit to the overtime hours, travel or relocation often required for career growth;

2. The job/industry clustering of working women 
More than one third of New Brunswick's working women are clustered in only 10 job classifications. Many of these jobs use skills that women traditionally use at home (e.g. nursing, teaching, serving, child care, cooking, cleaning).  

3. The under-valuation of traditional female occupations 
The under-valuation of traditional female jobs contributes to the wage gap. In many cases, women's work is paid less than men's work of equal value.



3. How do I calculate the wage gap?


The wage gap can be determined using the following calculation.

    X =    Women's average hourly wage   x 100%
                Men's average hourly wage


                  Wage Gap = 100% - X




4. What is New Brunswick's wage gap?


In 2021, New Brunswick's wage gap is 6.7% based on average hourly wage. Click here to view all provinces.



5. What is the difference between Pay Equity and Wage Gap?


Although the terms wage gap and pay equity are frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. However, they both relate to the same concern, that is the gap in earnings between men and women.

Wage gap is the difference between the average wages earned by men and the average wages earned by women.

Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal value. Pay equity addresses one of the three contributors to the wage gap, that is the under-valuation of traditional female occupations. To achieve pay equity, employers need to assess all jobs for their value, and then assign equal wages for jobs of equal value.



6. Why is it important to reduce the wage gap?


It’s important to reduce the wage gap because it is one way to gain immediate and long-term economic improvements at a time of pressing need.

  • Demographics - New Brunswick 's population is declining and aging faster than the rest of Canada's. New Brunswick's demographics point to not only a shrinking labour force, but also a rise in demand for skilled workers. An increase in skilled workers is critical to sustain our economy. Women are a key element of the solution because they represent nearly half the labour force, yet many are underemployed or not employed to their full potential. It has been proven that strategies to reduce the wage gap also increase the number of skilled workers, create a stable workforce and improve a company's bottom line.
  • Cost Saving - With a wage gap, women face greater challenges to their human rights, their economic status and their quality of life and health. All these bring costs to the economy. Encouraging women's economic equality will address many of these costs.



7. Whose job is it to reduce the wage gap?


Reducing the wage gap is all of our responsibility. Employers, government and communities will need to work together through education and awareness of the wage gap in order to shift societal attitudes and beliefs about the place and value of women in the workplace to better support a progressive society of working women and working men.



8. Why should employers reduce its workplace wage gap?


Research has shown that factors that contribute to the wage gap such as the balancing between work and family responsibilities impacts the workplace environment and employee satisfaction. This can result in human resources challenges and costs that may include:

  • Costs from employee turnover
  • Recruitment and hiring costs
  • Training costs
  • Costs in lost productivity
  • Costs in lost sales

Through workplace wage gap strategies, employers can benefit from:

  • Increase retention & reduce turnover of staff
  • Strengthen recruitment efforts
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Decrease workplace stress
  • Improve workplace morale
  • Secure a stable workforce
  • Solve workplace skills needs / shortages

These benefits can lead to increased workplace productivity.



9. How can an employer reduce its workplace wage gap?


Employers can reduce its workplace wage gap using the Employer Toolkit to assess the wage gap and its workplace impacts. Find out more and get started today by downloading your free employer toolkit.



10. What is government doing to reduce the wage gap?


Government is committed to addressing the wage gap. Government will also lead its partners in identifying and developing a new set of attitudes to support a society in which men and women are economic equals and develop and provide tools to assist employers in meeting their wage gap reduction goals.