The Ontario retail sector employs millions of people in Canada – it is an economy that we all take part in on a daily basis. However, inequality exists in a major way in this sector. A recent Toronto Star article notes “It’s the biggest source of jobs in the country, employing more than one million people in Ontario alone. But unequal wages and unfair distribution of hours in the retail sector are keeping women workers down, a new report shows.”
Although women make up almost 60% of the overall retail workforce in Ontario, men still outnumber them in the highest-paid positions. The study also found that men are paid more than women in every category of work, and are also more likely to have full-time positions, rather than part time.
While many organizations preach equal pay, this is according to position. Men, it seems, are the ones receiving the positions with the higher rate of pay: “In the retail sector, female workers are more likely to be concentrated in minimum wage jobs, according to the report, which draws on Statistics Canada data. Although the wage gap experienced by women in the retail sector is somewhat lower than the overall pay disparity in Ontario, 65 per cent of retail workers making $12 or less are women.”
Hours are also a problem. The study found that, while organizations state a commitment to providing equal opportunities to both men and women, women seem to be allocated fewer hours.
Here are some of the numbers the study found, according to the Toronto Star:
Gender pay gap by the numbers:
- 685,000: Number of women who worked in retail in 2015
- 483,000: Number of men who worked in retail in 2015
- 84: Percentage of cashiers who are women. Women occupy most of the low-level positions in retail while men outnumber them in management
- 43: Percentage of retail managers who are women
Average retail wages per hour in Ontario in 2015:
- Managers in retail, food and accommodation: Men — $30.79, Women — $25.06
- Salespeople and clerks: Men — $15.51, Women — $13.10
- Cashiers: Men — $12.34, Women — $11.84
Check out the full article here: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/04/18/women-in-retail-jobs-hardest-hit-in-by-gender-pay-gap-says-new-report.html.
This is a big problem, one that seems to rear its ugly head no matter how many times the issue is fought over.
What are your thoughts?