The median hourly wage for employees at the national level grew by 2.0% in 2021. This brings the growth path of wages closer to its historical pattern, following a large increase of 6.3% in 2020 – mainly driven by job losses among low-wage earners due to COVID-19.
Nova Scotia experienced a more dramatic increase in the median wage in 2020 (9.9%), followed by only a 0.1% increase in 2021.
- The median wage for the goods-producing sector in the province had a lower growth rate (0.3%) than the services-producing sector (1.2%) in 2021 compared to 2020.
- The services-producing sector grew by an average of 2.9% from 2016 through 2021, while the goods-producing sector grew by an average of 1.9%.
- The median hourly wage for males increased by 0.6% in 2020, whereas the growth observed for females was 1.2%.
- Over the five-year period between 2016 and 2021, wages increased on average by 2.7% for both males and females.
- Between 2020 and 2021, median hourly wages for full-time employment increased by 0.2%, outpaced by part-time wages increasing by 7.1%.
Wages by Province
Nova Scotia’s year-over-year increase in the median hourly wage ranked 7th among the ten provinces in 2021 at 0.1%. The national average wage growth was 6.3%.
- New Brunswick demonstrated the highest wage growth in the country by this measure at 6.3%, followed by Prince Edward Island at 3.5% and Newfoundland and Labrador at 3.0%.
- Both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have the lowest average median wage rates in the country, at $22.00.
- The highest rate in the country is Alberta, at $28.77.
Nova Scotia’s median hourly wage for unionized employees ($28.87) was $8.87 higher than for non-unionized employees ($20.00) in 2021. The province’s median hourly wage growth for unionized and non-unionized wages was 6.8% and 4.0%, respectively.
Prince Edward Island had the highest growth in median hourly wages for unionized employees (8.7%) and New Brunswick had the highest growth in hourly wages for non-unionized employees (5.0%) in 2021 compared to 2020.