A new report from the Labour Market Information Council looks at women’s annual earnings in trades. (File photo by Advocate staff)

A new report from the Labour Market Information Council looks at women’s annual earnings in trades. (File photo by Advocate staff)

New report details skilled trades earning, difference between men and women

Government expects demand for tradespeople to stay during COVID-19 recovery

OTTAWA — A new report finds that women in the skilled trades earn about half what men do, because they’re concentrated in lower-paying fields.

The report from the Labour Market Information Council looks specifically at those who received their certifications over a decade ago in 2009, and follows their annual earnings through to 2017.

Researchers found that those in the “Red Seal” trades, which are those that have national standards, started out making $64,000 in their first years and those incomes grew on average 2.1 per cent annually over the eight-year study period to reach $73,800.

Women’s annual earnings across all of those 56 trades was about half of men, partly a function of the low-paying trades where women were concentrated, such as cooking, baking and hairstyling.

The figures start to answer a key question for workers as they consider post-pandemic career changes: How much can I earn?

The Labour Market Information Council’s executive director, Steven Tobin, says many Canadians are struggling to figure out what to do as they continue to face challenges in the labour market.

“When you look at that alongside the fact that, right now, there is evidence emerging around labour shortages in the skilled trades, which was there before, it begs the question of whether or not now is the time to promote more people, in particular women, to enter some of these other trades where the earnings are higher?” Tobin said.

The skilled trades weren’t spared from the historic drop in the labour market one year ago as the first wave of COVID-19 hit. As some three million jobs were lost over March and April 2020, employment among people in Red Seal trades fell 30 per cent, the report says.

But by the end of 2020, employment in the red-seal trades rebounded to two points above pre-pandemic levels.

The government expects demand for tradespeople to stay high along the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, noting in a release this week that about 700,000 skilled-trades workers are expected to retire over the next seven years.

About one-fifth of Canadians work in the skilled trades, like construction, manufacturing and in the service sector. About three-quarters of all certified workers qualify as red-seal tradespeople.

Red Seal trades workers’ earnings over the first five years of the study period rose about 4.5 per cent a year, reaching $72,600.

Then, in the middle of the study period, oil prices collapsed and earnings dipped slightly in 2015 and 2016, before climbing in the last year.

Overall, women in the trades made 47 per cent, or $31,400, less than men did in the first year following certification, a percentage difference that stayed steady after eight years.

Ross Finnie, an expert on labour economics from the University of Ottawa, said men are distributed fairly evenly across different trade, but women make up less than 10 per cent of workers in the trades studied and are concentrated in a low-paying category that includes cooks, bakers and hairstylists.

For instance, the study found hairstylists’ earnings started at $23,700 and grew on average 2.5 per cent annually until they hit $28,100 by the eighth year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2021.

equalityskilled trades

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read