Bachelor's degree wages in B.C. haven't increased in 12 years
Men and women with a bachelor's degree aren't even making $1-per-hour-more than their counterparts from 12 years ago as wages remain stagnant, according to StatsCan data provided to 24 hours. (FOTOLIA)
"We used to be third in the country for wages, now we’re fifth or sixth. We’re below the national average now for the first time." — Jim Sinclair, B.C. Federation of Labour
Housing prices have more than doubled since the early 2000s and if you’re equipped with only a bachelor’s degree, chances are you’re not even making $1-per-hour more now compared to back then.
Statistics Canada data released to 24 hours on Monday showed that the average British Columbian man with a bachelor’s degree made $21.60 per hour in 2012 — exactly 39 cents more than he did 12 years before.
Women armed with the same degree can expect on average to earn 67 cents more for a wage of $19.72 in 2012.
B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair said government needs to act to reverse this pattern.
“You’re talking about people’s real lives and the fact people have a harder time making ends meet,” he said. “People want a government that worries about them, not raising hydro rates and tuition and MSP premiums and everything you see.”
In contrast, according to Royal Bank of Canada numbers, the average price of a Vancouver home was just shy of $800,000 in 2012 compared to about $300,000 in 2000.
Laura Chanin, a certified financial planner with HollisWealth, said growing numbers of post-secondary graduates are one reason wages have been “diluted a bit.”
“It’s not as special as it used to be, there’s so many people that go to university,” she said. “It’s a bit of supply and demand, if there’s more people with university degrees, there’s just more competition for jobs.”
Chanin said it’s likely some post-secondary graduates have taken on jobs they’re overqualified for — partly because wages on the lower end have actually increased at a faster pace.
She said one thing those struggling to make ends meet could do is to list out all their expenses for one month, and begin eliminating.
One expense many could eliminate, she said — noting there’s strong resistance — is driving.
“People seem to really love their vehicles,” Chanin said. “(But) if you give up your car, the insurance and maintenance, it would be a big savings.”