Positive Rise in Gender Wage Gap for Immigrant Women in Canada

Statistics Canada has released a new study revealing the Gender Wage Gap (GWG) for all women in Canada depending on their immigration status or citizenship, the Gender Wage Gap (GWG) is the difference in hourly pay between Canadian-born men and women who work in equivalent positions. The study also included immigrant men and women in this wage comparison. To calculate the GWG, Statistics Canada analyzed the differences in full-time and part-time earnings based on pay distribution (from lower-income to high-income positions), including among immigrant women who arrived in Canada as an adult versus as a child.

Between 2007 and 2022, the gap between the salaries of Canadian-born men and immigrant women who arrived in Canada as children decreased from 14.7% to 10.5%. Also, the wage gap between Canadian-born men and immigrant women who came to Canada as adults decreased from 27.4% to 20.9%.

Canadian-born women had a gap of 9.2% in comparison to Canadian men in 2022, which declined by 15% in 2007.

Immigrant men have almost eliminated the gap between themselves and Canadian-born men.

Low vs. high pay distribution

Immigrant women in lower pay distribution roles have seen an improvement in closing the GWG, while those with a higher hourly pay distribution have noticed no improvement in the GWG since 2007.

Immigrant women with a lower pay distribution who landed in Canada as an adult decreased their wage gap by 13.7 percentage points from 20.0% in 2007 to 6.3% in 2022.

However, those in the upper end of pay distribution noticed almost no change between 2007 and 2022 at 20.1%. Immigrant women who landed as children and worked at the upper end of their pay distributions had a wage gap of 11.3%.

Age also influences the GWG. The study reports that there has been an improvement for immigrant women who are between 25 to 29 years old who landed in Canada as adults. The difference has altered from 30.5% in 2007 to 12.0% in 2022.

Immigrant women in Canada’s labor force

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey states that 26.1% of immigrant women who landed in Canada as adults worked in professional jobs.

In general, immigrant women, particularly racialized women, are overrepresented in lower-income positions such as accommodation and food services. The August 2023 Labor Force Survey data indicates that female workers (6.2%) were more likely to be multiple jobholders than men (4.7%), as were immigrants who were accepted to Canada less than ten years ago (6.9%). It means that recent immigrant women are the most likely to be multiple job holders.

Women are less likely to be the principal applicants

Data from 2022 shows that 1,215,200 women immigrants came to Canada as secondary applicants in an economic immigration program. This means that they are a partner, spouse, or dependent of someone who applied to immigrate to Canada as a principal applicant in an economic immigration program, such as Express Entry. An additional 1,194,685 immigrant women arrived through family class sponsorship.  

Statistics Canada describes that immigrant women who are not principal economic applicants, often have more problems in finding employment because of their official language skills and the difficulty in having their education, skills, or experience recognized.

Additionally, it notes that many women face gendered obstacles like discrimination in the job market and gendered divisions of labor at home.

Based on a report from Statistics Canada from September 2022, 45% of women who are in a family with children under age 5 worked full-time. In comparison, 64% of Canadian-born women in a similar situation were full-time employees.

To relieve some of the gendered burdens on women, such as childcare, the government of Canada invested over $27 billion over five years as part of Budget 2021, to build a national childcare system and early learning with provinces and territories.

Since 2020, the labor force participation rate among women with children under the age of 6 has risen by four percentage points, according to TD Economics. This means approximately 111,000 extra women in Canada have joined the labor force since 2020 as childcare becomes more accessible and workplaces are more flexible with hybrid arrangements.



Also read: Most Livable Cities for Newcomers in Canada


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