As Canadians are squeezed by rising costs of living, results from a recent survey suggest women in the workforce are faring worse than men as they report lower salaries, more financial instability and greater reliance on additional income streams.


The survey on diversity and inclusion in the workplace from recruitment firm Robert Walters surveyed 2,000 white collar workers in Canada, as part of a wider survey of 6,000 working professionals across North America.

It found that one in 10 women rely on additional income outside their full-time jobs to get by, four per cent more than surveyed men. Only a quarter of women said they felt they could live comfortably with disposable income for discretionary spending and savings, compared with 36 per cent of men.

Twenty-one per cent of women said they live paycheque-to-paycheque, compared with 14 per cent of their male colleagues.

Coral Bamgboye, head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Robert Walters Canada, noted that the findings come as living costs in areas like home prices, groceries and gas have been on the rise.

“Now more than ever, employees are relying on their salaries and job security to ensure they stay afloat more than ever – but with 7 per cent more women than men stating that they live paycheque-to-paycheque with no disposable income, it’s evident that men have an unfair advantage in living in the current economy,” she said in a news release.


Women reported lower salaries than men and more difficulty obtaining raises.

Thirty-nine per cent of women reported that they earn a salary of US$55,000 or more, compared with 67 per cent of men who earned within that range.

Fewer women had received pay raises over the last year, with 24 per cent of women saying they had not received a raise within 12 months compared with 15 per cent of men.

Forty per cent of women reported feeling underpaid for what they do, compared with 24 per cent of men. Despite that, women reported being more hesitant to ask their employers for more money.

Nearly double the amount of women than men said they lacked the confidence to negotiate for better pay, and 16 per cent said they were hesitant to ask for raises because they did not believe their employer would provide one.

The survey also noted a gap when it comes to monetary benefits between employed men and women.

More men reported access to bonuses, equity, company stocks or shares and mortgage allowances from their jobs than women did.


Bamgboye said employers looking to address the gender pay gap should support employees, and be prepared to make changes around how they benchmark salaries, for example, “without waiting for employees to seek fair pay themselves.”

She also said employers should be mindful of the talent shortage in the workforce and the possibility that women who feel discouraged by pay disparities may choose to leave their organizations for other opportunities.

“If women find it significantly more difficult getting by on their current wage, particularly as we navigate through this tough economy, it may be more appealing to look for new jobs rather than preparing for conversations around salary negotiation – especially when many believe these conversations won’t be successful,” she said.


The survey was conducted in March of 2023 and was completed by 6,000+ North American professionals (white-collar roles), of which +2,000 were Canadian. It was conducted in partnership with international market research consultancy Censuswide. Robert Walters devised a series of multiple choice and open-text questions.