Wages and Benefits

Wages

The median hourly wage for employees at the national level grew 2.0% in 2018 and remained flat in Nova Scotia. The average annual growth in median wages between 2013 and 2018 was 2.1% for both Nova Scotia and Canada.  

The median wage for the goods-producing sector in the province had a higher growth rate (4.8%) than the services-producing sector (0.7%) in 2018 compared to 2017. Whereas, the five-year average growth rate in median hourly wages was a 0.1 percentage point higher for the services-producing sector.  

The median hourly wage for males grew 2.4% in 2018, which was higher than the growth observed for females (1.3%).  However, median hourly wages for females and males have grown at the same pace on average for the last five-year period of 2013 to 2018 (2.3%).

Median hourly wages for full-time employment increased by 0.9%, much lower than the 4.0% increase observed for part-time median hourly wages in 2018 compared to 2017.

Median Hourly Wages

Wages by Province

Nova Scotia’s median hourly wage did not grow in 2018. All the other provinces experienced growth of 1% or higher, other than Newfoundland and Labrador where growth was 0.1%.  Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are tied for the second lowest median hourly wage among the ten provinces at $20.00 per hour. Only Prince Edward Island has a lower median hourly wage ($19.49). Alberta ($26.67 per hour) has the highest median wage rate. 

Median Hourly Wage by Province, 2018

Unionized Wages

Nova Scotia’s median hourly wage for unionized employees ($25.98) was $8.48 higher than for non-unionized employees ($17.50) in 2018. The province’s median hourly wage growth for unionized and non-unionized wages was 1.3% and 0.0%, respectively.

The median hourly wage for non-unionized employees in 2018 compared to 2017 increased faster than that of unionized employees in most provinces, with the exceptions of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba. 

Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest growth in median hourly wages for both non-unionized employees (5.9%) and British Columbia had the highest growth in hourly wages for unionized employees (3.6%) in 2018 compared to 2017.

Median Hourly Wage by Union Status and Province, 2018