In Brief: Gender Wage Gaps Among University-Educated Employees in Quebec

Diana Gerasimov explores gender wage gaps in the Quebec labour market.

Diana Gerasimov

April 1, 2021

Vanier Institute’s In Brief Series: Mobilizing Research on Families in Canada

STUDY: Florea, A.-M., and N. Jean. “Les écarts salariaux selon le sexe dans les professions de formation universitaire: portrait des entreprises québécoises de 200 employés et plus au Québec,” Institut de la Statistique du Québec: Marché du travail et rémunération, 25 (March 2021). Link:

In 2019, nearly half (48%) of individuals in the Quebec employment market were women, yet, on average, women in Quebec earn $2.87 per hour less than men. This gender wage gap exists despite a higher percentage of women holding university degrees (32%) compared with 26% of men.

A snapshot of Quebec’s large companies in 2019 (those with more than 200 employees):

  • There were 303,510 permanent full-time workers in 2019, 176,720 of whom (56%) were women occupying professions requiring a university degree.
  • Women accounted for nearly 60% of employees in university-trained occupations within these companies.

Women in the Quebec employment market

  • Depending on the sector, women make up nearly 70% of the workers in the public sector (including municipal, provincial, federal and universities) compared with 40% in the private sector.
  • In companies with more than 200 employees, the average hourly wage of women occupying roles that require a university degree is lower than their male counterparts, at $42.30 versus $45.13, respectively.
  • The ratio of women’s to men’s hourly wage is about 94%.

The gendered division of industry work is one variant influencing gender wage gap differences.

  • In Quebec, women are more likely to be employed the fields of health care (80%), business, finance and administration (67%), as well as education, law, community and government social services (65%).
  • Across the different employment sectors, the largest gender wage gap is observed in the university sector, with a salary difference between men and women of $7 per hour.

Other possible factors to be considered in researching the gender wage gap include:

  • Employment duration
  • Workforce experience
  • Demographic characteristics
  • Family circumstances

In Quebec’s large enterprises with over 200 employees, the average woman’s hourly salary in a position requiring a university degree is unequal to that of her male counterpart. These differences are maintained across field sectors and status of syndication.

Diana Gerasimov holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University in Communication and Cultural Studies.

Scroll to Top