Methodological notes: Report on the compensation of Québec employees – Rémunération des salariés. État et évolution comparés, 2014 edition

Comparison of total compensation

Montréal, November 27, 2014 – This edition of the report on compensation levels and trends entitled Rémunération des salariés. État et évolution comparés 2014, produced by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, presents detailed results and analyses of the comparison between Québec government employees’ salaries and total compensation and those of other Québec employees in 2014.

Québec government employees include those in the public service, the education system (school boards and CEGEPs), and the health and social services network.

Other Québec employees are those working in enterprises of 200 or more employees in the private sector or in the “other public” sector. The latter comprises the various public administrations and enterprises not included in the Québec government, such as municipal governments (cities with populations of 25,000 or more), government business enterprises, universities, and the federal government in Québec. Certain sectors, such as agriculture and construction, are excluded. Employees in the sectors compared may be unionized or non-unionized.

Total compensation is made up of three main components: salaries, benefits, and hours at work. Hours at work are obtained by subtracting paid time off from normal working hours to obtain compensation per hour worked. Salaries account for about 70% of total compensation. The costs for certain elements of total compensation, in particular those related to variable pay and job security, are not taken into consideration.

The Institut uses the employer-costs method, which measures employers’ costs for compensation for a given fiscal year. Comparisons are based on the most recent data available. Thus, the average salaries reflect the rates in effect in 2014.

To add another dimension to the salary comparisons, the Institut also disseminates information on salary scales. These analyses are based on the job rates (normal maximums) of the scales, which reflect the salary policies of employers, as well as on the position of employees within their scales.

The 77 benchmark jobs used in the comparison are distributed among five occupational categories and represent nearly one in three regular full-time employees of the Québec government. The employees not covered, such as teachers and nurses, generally have no direct and relevant counterparts in the rest of the labour market. When only the truly comparable jobs are taken into account, coverage increases to 100%.

The comparison is based on compensation differentials. To determine the Québec government’s status in relation to the sectors compared, the Institut uses measures of precision to take into account the risk of error inherent in any data from a survey based on a sample. The procedure used consists of a statistical test with a level of confidence of 95%. A differential with a negative value usually indicates that compensation in the Québec government is less than that in the sector to which it is being compared (the Québec government is behind), while a positive differential indicates greater compensation in the Québec government (the Québec government is ahead). When the statistical test does not make it possible to conclude that the Québec government is ahead or behind, the Institut considers compensation in the two sectors compared to be equivalent (parity). Thus, a differential not equal to zero may, in certain cases, still be considered as an indication of parity.

The Institut also analyses the evolution of the compensation differentials over two years (from 2013 to 2014) as well as over a longer period (from 2009 to 2014).

Salary trends

The results with regard to salary trends for unionized Québec employees are drawn from the collective agreement databank of Québec’s Ministère du Travail. These agreements cover unionized employees belonging to bargaining units with 100 or more blue-collar workers, 50 or more white-collar employees, or a combination of the two in the case of “mixed” agreements. For the purposes of this analysis, the municipal and federal sectors include the public administrations and government business enterprises of these two levels of government in Québec.

Regarding non-unionized employees, the results are based on salary planning surveys available to the Institut at the time of writing of the report. The participants in these surveys are mainly medium and large enterprises. The data used pertain to salary-scale increases paid and projected for all the occupational categories covered by the Institut’s compensation comparisons.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is the statistical coordinator for Québec and the relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


  • Nadège Jean
    Coordinator, compensation studies
    Direction des statistiques du travail et de la rémunération
    Phone: 514-876-4384, Ext. 6224
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