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Cost of living crisis twice as bad for women

  • 1 in 10 women rely on additional income outside of fulltime work
  • 40% of women feel underpaid for what they do, vs 24% of men
  • 67% of men earn a median salary of $55k or more, vs 39% of women
  • A quarter of females (24%) have not had a pay rise in the last 12 months, 9% more than men
  • Men are twice as likely to receive additional monetary-based perks, such as mortgage allowances
  • 17% more men received bonuses in line with their expectations – 65% of men vs 48% of women


1 in 10 women have stated that they must rely on additional income outside of their fulltime professional jobs to get by in the current economic climate – with 40% admitting that they feel underpaid for the work they do.   

According to a recent survey into diversity and inclusion in the workplace from global recruiter Robert Walters (of +6,000 professionals across North America), just 39% of women reported that they earn a salary of $55K (USD) or more - 28% less than men. This comes at a time when gender pay gaps and workplace equality is a core focus for organisations across Canada.  

Adding into the equation the additional rise in cost-of-living, women appear to be more impacted – in fact, just a quarter (25%) of women feel as though they can live comfortably with a good amount of disposable income for savings or purchases of their choosing.

Coral Bamgboye – Head of ED&I at Robert Walters Canada comments:

“Whilst the gender pay gap has narrowed over recent years, we still have a significant way to go. Our research indicates that men remain to be on higher wages, feel more satisfied with their salary, and are far more likely to receive a pay rise should they request it. In fact, our survey reveals just a quarter (25%) of women have received near 75-100% of the pay rise that they requested, with double the number of women than men stating that they received nothing following negotiation.

“Across the first half of 2023 we saw the reality of rising living costs across Canada, with home prices, groceries, gas and public transportation becoming increasingly expensive. Now more than ever, employees are relying on their salaries and job security to ensure they stay afloat – but with 7% more women than men stating that they live pay cheque to pay cheque with no disposable income, it’s evident that men have an unfair advantage in living in the current economy.”

Pay rises that just won’t do

According to the Robert Walter survey, of those professional women who did receive a pay increase this year, the majority got below the current rate of inflation – with 32% receiving a pay increase of 1-5%. Just 9% received an increase of 21% or more; compared to twice as many men (19%) who earnt the inflation busting increase.

In fact – a quarter of women (24%) have admitted that they have not received a pay increase at all within the past 12 months. This is particularly concerning when we address that in 2022, Canada saw the largest increase in Consumer Price Index since 1982 - increasing by +6.8% from 2021.

Women hesitant to negotiate

Whilst the need for higher salaries and monetary benefits is evident from women, it seems that many are facing barriers which prevent them from negotiating.

Almost a fifth (16%) admit to being hesitant in negotiating salaries because they ‘do not believe their employer will provide the pay rise.’ A further double the number of women than men stated that they felt a lack of confidence or embarrassment when it comes to negotiating for better pay.

Coral adds: “The gender pay gap has been prevalent for as long as the modern economy has and because of this, women should be supported by their employers in a way that makes them feel comfortable and confident when it comes to salary negotiation.

“Whilst organizations work to bridge the gap, employers need to be more prepared to address issues and make changes - particularly when it comes to appraisals and benchmarking salaries more fairly, without waiting for employees to seek fair pay themselves. 

“Employers must remember that we’re in the midst of a talent shortage. 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.”

The Benefits Gap

Men are also twice as likely to receive additional monetary-based perks than women, broken down below:




410k Retirement Plan



Bonus Scheme



Equity/ Company stocks/shares



Mortgage allowance



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Contact Georgia Peglar


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