How much money should you ask for? What Canadians are earning by province and industry

When job seeking or negotiating a salary increase, you need to know what the market rate is for your job in your industry and geographical area. How else will you know what to say when a potential employer asks about your salary expectations?

This is always an awkward question. But it’s easier to nail it with the right information.

Fortunately, Statistics Canada recently released the latest earnings data for what Canadians are making this year by industry and province. So, that should help.

According to StatsCan, the average worker in this country is earning $967.15 a week, or an annual income of $50,291.80 as of January, 2017. This is a 1.8 per cent increase in pay compared with the same period last year.

Average salaries by industry

What industries are earning the most and the least? Accommodation and food services is at the bottom of the earnings list, making salaries of less than $20,000 a year. But the data doesn’t take tips — which make  up a substantial part of food and beverage service earnings — into account. So you can rest assured the average take-home pay is significantly higher.

Retail comes in second to last, with an average annual income of $29,087.24; while Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, is making just a smidge more with an average income of $30,062.24  (It’s worth noting that retail is also the most common job in North America, according to separate research.)

“Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction” actually saw slight dips in pay with wages down by -0.7 per cent, and is expected to see the lowest pay increase in 2018, according to Morneau Shepell’s annual survey of Trends in Human Resources, which we covered here. Workers in this sector, however, still consistently have the highest average annual earnings of any industry at an impressive $102,673.48.

The next highest incomes are in “Utilities,” though this is one of the two other fields that experienced declines in average income between 2016-2017, dropping by -3.5 per cent.   “Management of companies and enterprises” comes in third highest.

The one other sector to see a decline in wages is “Forestry, logging and support,” which fell by -3.4 per cent.

Here are the average annual earnings across industries for 2017, according to StatsCan:

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction – $102,673.48
Utilities – $88,187.84
Management of companies and enterprises – $80,204.28
Professional, scientific, and technical services – $68,459.56
Finance and insurance – $67,043.08
Information and cultural industries – $66,358.24
Construction – $64,201.28
Manufacturing – $57,979.48
Forestry, logging and support – $57,386.68
Educational services – $53,912.04
Transportation and warehousing – $52,644.28
Real estate and rental and leasing – $51,382.76
Health care and social assistance – $45,900.92
Arts, entertainment, and recreation – $30,062.24
Retail – $29,087.24
Accommodation and food services – $19,204.64

Average income by province

Salaries vary across the country as well. Alberta workers, while the only ones who saw a decrease in wages between 2016 – 2017, remain the highest earners in the country, with an average annual income of $57,874.96. At the other end of the spectrum, Prince Edward Island has the lowest annual income at $43,046.12.

Canadian earnings by province:
Newfoundland and Labrador – $53,427.92
New Brunswick – $46,202.52
Nova Scotia – $44,289.44
Prince Edward Island – $43,046.12
Quebec – $46,440.16
Ontario – $51,257.44
Manitoba – $46,705.88
Saskatchewan -$52,409.24
Alberta – $57,874.96
British Columbia – $48,433.84

For more in-depth information, you can see the data here. Statistics Canada also allows you to get very granular by looking at salary by industry, job, province, and city on their website.

More things to consider when negotiating salary include level of education and experience, as well as auxiliary or additional related certificates, education, and skills.

Plus, remember that it’s not just about the number of your salary that matters. Also consider perks and benefits, and vacations time, as well as bonuses and factors that contribute to work-life balance, such as flex time or remote work opportunities.

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