What is this metric and why is it important?
Wages are the financial compensation one receives for work, and are one of the primary mechanisms through which individuals benefit from the innovation economy. Here we present the mean wages across OECD countries and provinces.
How is Canada doing?
- In 2019, Canadians earned $53,198, while the OECD average was $43,595, placing it with the 12th highest wages out of 36 countries.
- In the 1990s Canada’s average yearly percentage growth was quite low, at 0.74% per year compared to 2.56% in the OECD.
- While Canada’s growth rate has continued to lag the OECD average since 2000, the gap has narrowed, with Canada posting average annual wage growth of 1.09% and the OECD at 1.51%.
The formal OECD definition of wages used here is "the total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable to all persons counted on the payroll (including homeworkers), in return for work done during the accounting period."
While the mean is a useful measure of how much the overall distribution earns, it is often a poor metric of what the typical person in the country earns. Unfortunately, the OECD only reports average wages. Furthermore, there are more types of income than just wages, and these are more often earned by the top of the distribution. For a more complete picture of income distribution see Gini and other metrics.