Minority Workers in the Public Sector

Another reason for that intolerably high public sector compensation premium —

Further to my earlier post showing that the public/private sector pay gap is mainly due to more equal pay for women in service jobs,  a recent piece from Canadian Public Policy by Hou and Coulombe shows that the pay gap between Canadian born racialized workers and non racialized workers exists almost entirely in the private sector and not in the public sector.

“This study examines earnings gaps between Canadian-born visible minorities and Whites in the public and private sectors. Based on the 2006 census data, this study shows that visible minorities and Whites receive similar pay for similar jobs in the public sector. By contrast, in the private sector visible minority men earn significantly less than observationally comparable Whites. Among large visible minority groups, Black men face a large earnings gap in the private sector while Black women face a large gap in both the public and private sectors. For Chinese and South Asians, small gaps in adjusted earnings exist only among men in the private sector.”

The more equitable outcomes prevalent in the public sector are due to collective bargaining and pay and employment equity legislation.  Those who tout the superiority of supposedly market driven pay structures in the private sector seem to be ignoring the reality of discrimination against women and racialized workers.


  • This is the kind of research that is forehead slapping obvious, but only after you have read it. It also racializes the debate about public sector unions vs. private sector individual competition in a number of ways. Not least of these is the extent to which Rob Ford’s “Gravy Train” campaign appealed to racial stereotypes and resentments in multi-cultural Toronto.

  • I’m not rich, I fit into the lowest of income brackets. the disconnect; I see in this article is very large and hard to ignore.

    In Canada, around a 1/3rd of small and medium-sized companies are now run by women.

    While businesses run by women are usually small, employing up to five persons, their importance to the overall economy is growing. They often start new business enviroments that are inhernelty diffrent and more condusive then those they were use to from a larger corperation. These small business today might be leading industries in the future.

    We all know immigrants make up a large share of the canadian workforce. Immigrants erned wages that 50% below the wages of Canadian-born legals with the same experience and education.

    There are supporters who wish to ban or use the rule of law to deport every migrant, immigrant, and ban or restricit anyone seeking to migrate by use of deadly force to force Canadian employers to employ only legal workers, since we “commonly” hear they are stealing “all” the “jobs”. This is an element of shame for conservatives, and some on the left, mainly a phenonmea of hate espoused.

    I hope progressives are in agreement, that this would not create canadian jobs for legal workers. Otherwise you agreeing with the “gun racist toters”!!

    It is laughable if it did not effect so many lives that Canadian employers could suddenly employ legal workers at equitable pay, if we kiced out every il-legal by rule of law. Simmilar to women, if Canadian employers were suddenly paying the same wages as men by rule of law, they would be firing more women, in general, women would take a fewer hours, and the man-cession term would not exist

    Even though most women and men have equal pay in the public sector, they share an comparable equal share of the public workforce. More or less. Black women in the public sector has a higher share of perentage of workforce compared to White women and White men in the public sector. Fortunatly women share a greater percentage of the workforce in the the private sector. This has led economits on the left and right to quip the recession as a man-cession.

    In retrospect women in the private sector where they do earn less have lower unemployment rates and see their hours cut less. Men often earn more, however they often have their hours reduced, and simply are not hired, as we see in the elevated unemployment rates for men. Men who wash dishes in the private sector earn more then women in the same job. Women now are currently employed more then men due to lower wages. Men wages should be scaled back, or decreased to match women, not the other way around. Women are by far superior are doing more, or just the same as men for less. Followed by male and then women immigrants who do the most and are paid the least. I’m not favor for increasing women wages to match mens. This is a democracy. Now what?

    When going over racial discrimination in the workforce. So you think we ignore the problem at large. However there is another interpretation of the data, that progressives vehemently ignore with passion.

    I’m young white in my twenties, educated at highschool. Yet a young black or young native, or young hispanic in his twenties, educated at highschool, will find it harder to gain employment, then I. There is a huge gap that cannot be easily explained away.

    Small businesses are increasingly owned by women do not employ minorities because lawsuits can be rather expensive, time consuming and lengthy. A small business cannot recover losses from lawsuits like corperations, they cannot afford a array of lawyers, they often settle out of court, due to how expensive a trial is, unless the employer is very pricipled.

    We then get stuck with larger corperations. These guys will often never fret about who they fire, will do everything to avoid setting precedent, drag their feet, loose documents by giving you more then you need, or swamping you oceans of paperwork, will hire an array of lawyers, and will push to settle out of court, which the employee most likly wil entertain, due how it expensive a trial is, unless the employee is very principled.

    There are many who wish to “stick it” to the small guy who just wishes to own a his business then to sell out work for some multi-nantional corperation forienly owned that supposedly pays better.

    Its like you’re stating people that wish to employ others are inherently racist. If you wish to employ someone, you are hiring only based of race.

    To be fair there are those who “ignoring the reality of discrimination against women and racialized workers” but mainly for opposite reasons then you cite.

    I do not think Canaidan employers are the last vestige of white bigotry in North america. I do not think employers are sitting back saying to themselves, minorities are filthy monkeys or mud-bloods.

    I know, I’m not racist, as long as you have a human brain; you and I are equal. We both think, we both care, we both seek shelter in our lives, and we both seek to better ourselves, to care about the color of skin anymore. That’s outdated get with the times. I wish to employ others. I cannot afford to hire manorites, or men for that matter.I would hire women. I gues that makes me sexist and racist, yet I think blacks, and hispanics, women are my equal. I. What gives?

    They are making a economic calculation. A minority will be overlooked unless you can proove without a doubt you will add to the employers bottom line.

    Minorities get automaticly fired at the interveiw for a dish washer/ line cook/ prep cook, etc… unless they can proove without a doubt they can add more to that employer then I who can be fired if Im not up to snuff, and I cannot launch a racial based discrimantion suit because Im white, and run up the employers in costs he would have to pay.

  • Brandon said:

    “I’m not favor for increasing women wages to match mens.”

    And you’ve explained why quite succinctly: you’re a cheapskate bastard who agrees with the owner who seeks to squeeze every last penny of surplus value out of a worker.

    “I wish to employ others. I cannot afford to hire manorites, or men for that matter.I would hire women. I gues that makes me sexist and racist,”

    Again, it’s not necessarily true that you’re doing this because you’re some sexist, racist prick; it’s that you’re looking for cheap labour who won’t act like most men do when confronted by demands to work harder for less (ie leave, get violent, get “confrontational” by unionizing, etc.). Women are still socialized to think less of themselves and more of others and be more compliant ie sweet and nice (not like those hairy, loud, demanding feminists, no sir), and I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that many immigrants (especially those here on temporary visas) worry about stepping out of line with the boss, which could result in their getting fired easily (resulting in no income for their families and/or possible fears of deportation).

    Forgive me if I can’t feel your pain.

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