With the rising costs of living, it has become an increasingly difficult time for many Canadians- especially those working minimum wage jobs. Depending on the region you live in, costs can vary for food and shelter- this is where a living wage comes into place. A living wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and participate in their community. The living wage is an optional target and employers are not obligated to pay a living wage (only minimum wage). Currently the living wage in Greater Victoria is $24.29. With this in mind, the average hourly wage for unfilled positions is $24.75. In the fourth quarter of 2022 and the year prior, the average wage was sitting at $22.30. This is just an average, with some employers paying more and others paying minimum wage.
A question some may ask is, “Why can’t all employers just pay a living wage?” One of the many issues employers face is the reality that the living wage rate is tied to the consumer price index, and during times of hyperinflation it can jump severely year-over-year. When inflation is low, it is easier for employers to commit to a living wage. When inflation hovers close to 10%, it becomes more problematic. As of February 2023, the inflation rate in BC is up by +6.2%, according to BC stats.
How do you find a job that pays a living wage?
Finding a job that pays a living wage can be challenging, as not every company lists what their positions pay on the job listing. When job searching start by researching companies and industries that are known for paying a living wage. You can search industry-specific salary guides like WorkBC’s Career Search Tool or BC Job Bank as well as check out job posting websites that allow you to filter jobs by salary range. If there is a specific position you already know you want to apply for, but it doesn’t show the salary, reach out to the hiring manager to find out what the wage range is. Leveraging your personal and professional network is also great to gain insight on companies that may be known to pay well. Finally, you can look for companies that are specifically committed to paying a living wage. Check out Living Wage for Families BC’s employer list: https://www.livingwageforfamilies.ca/victoria_living_wage_employers
New pay transparency legislation
Trying to figure out what jobs really pay might seem like a tedious process, but there could be some light at the end of the tunnel. In March 2023, a was introduced in March to help pave a path to pay equity. If the legislation is passed, as early as November 2023, all employers will be required to include wage or salary ranges on all publicly advertised jobs. In addition, as soon as the legislation is in force, B.C. employers will not be able to ask prospective employees for pay history information or punish employees who disclose their pay to co-workers or potential job applicants. By mandating pay transparency, job seekers will have the knowledge of whether they should be applying to a certain job right off the bat.new pay transparency legislation was introduced to help pave a path to pay equity. If legislation is passed as early as November 2023 all employers will be required to include wage or salary ranges on all publicly advertised jobs. In addition, as soon as the legislation is in place B.C. employers will not be able to ask prospective employees for pay history information or punish employees who disclose their pay to co-workers or potential job applicants. By mandating pay transparency, job seekers will have the knowledge of whether they should be applying to a certain job.
Remember that finding a job that pays a living wage can be difficult, but it’s important to stay persistent and advocate for your worth as a worker. If you happen to find a job with a pay rate that is not what you expect, you have the power to negotiate. Check out our Negotiating Your Wage: Job Seekers blog to learn more!