Wage methodology

How are wages displayed on Explore Careers?

For most occupations on Explore Careers, minimum, median, and maximum wage estimates are displayed. Both hourly rates and annual incomes are estimated.

The wages are specific to an occupation and provide information on the earnings of workers at the provincial level.

For some occupations hourly wages are not provided due to either a high rate of self-employment in the occupational group or due to data limitations at a provincial level.

How are the wages calculated?

The wages are calculated using a standard approach developed by Employment and Social Development Canada and the Service Canada regional offices, in consultation with Statistics Canada.

Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employment workers are excluded.

In addition, wages are adjusted to reflect the current minimum wage in Nova Scotia and are reflected on Explore Careers for all wages that are below minimum wage following the wage calculations.

What sources of data are used to calculate the wages on Explore Careers?

Hourly earnings data is from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, which is the primary source of wage data. The Labour Force Survey is the most inclusive, timely, and unbiased source of wage data by occupational group.

Sometimes, Labour Force Survey data is not available for calculating wages due to data suppression and other sources are considered. Other sources include: Employment Insurance survey data, provincial wage surveys, the National Household Survey, and collective bargaining agreements. Depending on data availability and reliability, it may be necessary to use a different source from one year to the next.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section are from the 2016 Census by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2015 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

In the case of Specialist Physicians (NOC 3111) and Family Physicians (NOC 3112) the source is Canadian Institute for Health Information and Canadian Medical Association - custom tabulation.

For Judges (NOC 4111) administrative data for judges is the source. 

What are the median, low, and high wages?

Median is used as the indicator of the prevailing wage for each occupation. The median wage is the point at which half of the workers had an equal or higher wage and half had an equal or lower wage, when wages are arranged in numerical order. The median is preferred over the average because it is less sensitive to extreme wage values and more representative of a typical workers salary.

The low wage typically corresponds to the 10th percentile, meaning if the low wage is $11/hour, 90% of the workers in the occupation earn $11/hour or more.

The high wage typically corresponds to the 90th percentile, meaning if the high wage is $40/hour, 90% of workers earn $40/hour or less.

How can the low wage be equal to the median wage?

The median wage represents the middle point of the wage distribution. The low or high wage can be equal (or very close to) the median wage when a significant share of the workers within an occupation earn wages that are very similar to either the high or the low wage.

How often are wages updated on Explore Careers?

Wage are reviewed and updated on Explore Careers annually.