WOMEN: Men earn 20% more than female equals in Land of Opportunity

Canada is a land of equal opportunity, where women can work and excel in the same jobs as men. Just don’t expect them to get paid the same. In fact, Canadian men earn on average 20 per cent more than their female colleagues, one of the largest gender wage gaps in the developed world.

What jobs should Canadian women target to beef up their earnings? Here are the ten highest-paying careers for women in the nation, including the rare one where females earn more than their male counterparts.


1. Senior managers
Avg. female hourly wage: $41.23
Avg. male hourly wage: $43.10

Senior managers may be executives in broadcasting, utilities or transportation, as well as high-ranking government officials. Most often these are men in Canada (of the 70,000-odd workers with this classification in the country, nearly 50,000 are male) but the designation is still where women can earn the highest salary. At more than $41 per hour on average, senior managers are the highest-paid women in Canada.

2. Specialist managers
Avg. female hourly wage: $35.80
Avg. male hourly wage: $39.37

A specialist manager is any manager or executive in the finance, marketing and architecture sectors, a male-dominated group in our nation, according to Stats Canada. Workopolis’ Peter Harris notes, though, that many companies are changing their recruitment strategies and looking for women to fill these executive positions. ‘We’ve seen these recruitment pushes by companies [on Workopolis.com], and it makes sense,’ Harris says. ‘Not only is having more gender balance the right thing to do, it also creates a healthier, smarter workforce. That diversity of opinion is invaluable.’

3. Managers
Avg. female hourly wage: $35.16
Avg. male hourly wage: $39.58

This category encompasses managers from the insurance, telecom and education sectors, and women with high-ranking positions in these industries are able to earn plenty of money (though not as much as men). According to Statistics Canada, however, there are still more than 50,000 more men than women in these high-paying jobs.

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4. Nurses
Avg. female hourly wage: $33.64
Avg. male hourly wage: $32.16

The one category on this list where women largely outnumber men is also the one category where women can claim to earn more than men. In Canada, there are more than 12 times as many female nurses than there are male ones, and women are also better compensated. Nurses are one of just three job classifications tracked by Stats Canada (the others are secretaries and cashiers) where women earn more than men.

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5. Health workers
Avg. female hourly wage: $33.41
Avg. male hourly wage: $35.33

As they do in another, another health-related category you’ll read about soon, women dominate men in the health sector, which includes physicians, dentists and pharmacists. According to Stats Canada, there are nearly triple the number of female health workers in Canada, though male workers are paid much more. Male health workers earn nearly $2 more per hour on average than their female counterparts.

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6. Science workers
Avg. female hourly wage: $33.09
Avg. male hourly wage: $36.50

In Canada, science workers can include anyone that’s a physicist, engineer, biologist or astronomer. Numbers-wise, the field is dominated by men — there are over 333,000 more men in this field than women — perhaps a sign of things past, not present. Workopolis’ Harris notes that women have traditionally stayed away from jobs in science fields, opting for careers in sectors like human resources and marketing instead. The editor-in-chief expects this to change in the coming years.

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7. Teachers and professors
Avg. female hourly wage: $32.09
Avg. male hourly wage: $34.38

By Statistics Canada’s numbers, there are nearly 200,000 more female than male teachers and professors in the country. Perhaps in the future this will change. Workopolis’ Peter Harris notes that increased diversity in educational pursuits should drive Canadian women from their traditional occupations into ones more often dominated by men. This could include, according to Harris, fields like technology, where there’s a big need today for female gaming developers and user interface engineers.

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8. Human Society Roles
Avg. female hourly wage: $31.45
Avg. male hourly wage: $33.92

The wide category of ‘human society’ includes everyone from psychologists and judges to lawyers and parole officers. For women, the classification is quite lucrative, though again, not as much as for men. Despite the fact that there are nearly 100,000 less male workers in the sector than females, men still earn nearly $2.50 more per hour on average than women.

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9. Business and finance workers
Avg. female hourly wage: $30.64
Avg. male hourly wage: $34.28

Business and finance workers, a classification that includes accountants, brokers and financial analysts, are actually more often women than men in Canada (according to Stats Canada, there were nearly 70,000 more females in this sector in 2011 than males). Still, men routinely take up the higher-paying jobs in the field.

According to Peter Harris, editor-in-chief of Workopolis, this pay inequity might be changing. Harris says that, with more women attaining higher education today than their male counterparts, females are likely to find themselves in high-paying executive positions more often over the next two decades.

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10. Arts and culture workers
Avg. female hourly wage: $27.79
Avg. male hourly wage: $29.03

Statistics Canada does not gather wage data specifically for job titles like engineers or plumbers, but instead groups professions into wide swaths with titles like ‘occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport.’ In this category, which includes the careers of, for example, librarians, editors, journalists, musicians and choreographers, women earn plenty in Canada, but still nearly $1.25 less on average per hour than men working the same gigs.

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