Fraser Institute News Release: Government employees in Alberta paid 9.6 per cent higher wages than comparable private-sector workers

CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Government employees in Alberta received 9.6 per cent higher wages on average than comparable workers in the private sector last year, and enjoyed much more generous non-wage benefits, too, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Bringing government-sector compensation in line with the private sector would not only help governments in Alberta control spending without reducing services, it would also maintain fairness for taxpayers,” said Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute senior policy analyst and co-author of Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Alberta.

The study finds that government employees in Alberta—including federal, provincial and municipal workers—received 9.6 per cent higher wages, on average, than comparable workers in the private sector in 2017. And that wage gap accounts for differences between workers in the two sectors such as age, gender, education, tenure and type of work.

But wages are only part of overall compensation. Government workers in Alberta enjoy much more generous benefits, too.

  • Pensions: Almost seven-in-10 government workers in Alberta (68.6 per cent) have a defined benefit pension plan—which offers a guaranteed level of benefits in retirement—compared to less than one-in-10 workers in the private sector (7.1 per cent).
  • Early retirement: Government workers in Alberta retire 1.7 years earlier, on average, than private-sector workers.
  • Personal leave: Government workers in Alberta are absent from their jobs for personal reasons 81.5 per cent more often than private-sector workers—11.8 days compared to 6.5 days.
  • Job security: Government workers were six times less likely to experience job loss than private-sector workers—0.7 per cent compared to 4.2 per cent.

“Of course, governments in Alberta should provide competitive compensation to attract qualified employees, but clearly wages and benefits in the government sector are out of step with the private sector,” said co-author Steve Lafleur, Fraser Institute senior policy analyst.

Steve Lafleur, Senior Policy Analyst (in Calgary)
Fraser Institute

Charles Lammam, Director, Fiscal Studies
Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese, Media Relations Specialist
Fraser Institute
604-688-0221 ext. 589

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 86 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

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