#OntEdStrike: Rafael Gomez on Public- and Private-Sector Salaries

February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

CIRHR Director Rafael Gomez spoke to the Toronto Star about salaries in the public and private sectors. Friday, February 21, 2020 marks the first time in more than twenty years that all four Ontario teachers unions, representing almost 200,000 teachers and education workers, have been on strike on the same day. 

From "Does money matter? A look at one of the key issues in Ontario teachers’ battle with the province" by Isabel Teotoni, published in the Toronto Star on February 21, 2020:

And what about salary, private or public sector?

On average, public sector jobs pay more than private sector positions, but that’s not a fair comparison, says Rafael Gomez, an associate professor of employment relations at the University of Toronto. That’s because public sector jobs typically call for more education and a higher set of skills, while the private sector includes many more jobs, in areas such as hospitality and retail, that require less education and fewer skills, so they’ll be paid less.

“You have to compare apples with apples,” says Gomez, who’s also the director of the university’s Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. When you compare people with the same levels of education and skill sets, those in the private sector have higher salaries.

He adds that in the private sector, you can tie wage growth to earnings, meaning there are a lot of bonus and incentive schemes tied to how the company is doing. “You don’t have the same performance measures in the public sector. So you depend on these across-the-board wage increases to move the floor up.”