Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 07, 2016 - 6:59 am

Nunavut’s female Inuit public servants earn less than everyone else

Inuit women make up nearly 40 per cent of GN workforce; earn the least

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
A Government of Nunavut office building in a small community. The GN's 2014-15 annual public service report shows that about one in every four full-time jobs lie vacant. The largest single group is Inuit women, who make up 38 per cent of the work force. But they're mostly employed in the low-paid administrative and para-professional jobs. (FILE PHOTO)
A Government of Nunavut office building in a small community. The GN's 2014-15 annual public service report shows that about one in every four full-time jobs lie vacant. The largest single group is Inuit women, who make up 38 per cent of the work force. But they're mostly employed in the low-paid administrative and para-professional jobs. (FILE PHOTO)

If you’re a woman and a land claim beneficiary and you work for the Government of Nunavut, you probably earn less money than everyone you work with.

But you also make up the largest proportion of the GN’s entire workforce: 38 per cent of Nunavut’s 4,541 public servants are female land claim beneficiaries.

Nunavut’s 2014-15 Public Service Annual Report, recently tabled in the Nunavut Legislature, said the GN is still operating under capacity at 75 per cent.

That means one in four of all jobs within the GN remain vacant.

And of the jobs that are filled, half of those employees are beneficiaries.

Those figures have remained virtually unchanged for the past 15 years.

But this current report, more comprehensive than in years past, contains a lot more information about the GN’s workforce.

For instance, when it comes to salaries, men who are non-beneficiaries earn the most, with an average salary of $102,569. Women who are non-beneficiaries are a close second earning, on average, $99,042 per year, the report said.

Men who are beneficiaries lag behind with average salaries of $82,376 per year and women who are beneficiaries come in dead last, earning $79,480 per year.

“Since 2007, for both beneficiary and non-beneficiary male employees, salaries have been consistently higher than their female counterparts,” the report said. “Salary growth has been slowest for female beneficiary employees.”

The report explains that female employees hold fewer professional and management positions than their male counterparts, which might explain why they earn less.

It’s also interesting to note that there are nearly twice as many women working for the GN as men: 2,186 women compared to 1,214 men.

And, while female beneficiaries make up the largest part of the public service, their male counterparts don’t fare as well: only 12 per cent of GN jobs are filled by Inuit men.

Across the board, GN employees earn an average salary of $90,474 — that’s up from $70,669 in 2007.

When gender is factored in, the average salary for a women GN employees is $87,424 and the average for men is $95,978.

When you compare beneficiaries with non-beneficiaries in government jobs, the same trends as in previous years persist: beneficiaries tend to occupy the lower power, lower paying jobs.

Of the total administration jobs within the GN — the lowest rung on the ladder — 88 per cent are filled by beneficiaries. For the next level up, para-professional, beneficiaries occupy 71 per cent of those jobs.

In middle and senior management, beneficiaries hold only one quarter and one fifth of those jobs, respectively.

Beneficiaries fare a little better in the top level executive jobs. Of the GN’s 40 executive positions — the senior public servants in government — 15 of those jobs, or 44 per cent, are held by beneficiaries.

The GN has struggled for years to comply with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and have its workforce reflect Nunavut’s demographic breakdown, which stands at 81 per cent Inuit and 19 per cent non-Inuit, according to 2014 statistics.

One way to tackle that is through the Sivuliqtiksat Internship Program, offered since 2001 as a one- to three-year internship program run through the GN’s Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs at a cost of $2 million per year.

That dollar figure includes salaries for 16 interns, $25,000 each, on top of that, for training, education and travel as well as overall program operations and maintenance costs.

According to the annual report, 23 beneficiaries have completed the program, 20 are still employed with the GN, and 16 are in management positions.

Another 17 did not complete the program but, of these, seven are still with the GN and two are in management positions.

The problem is, the program is undersubscribed, the report said: “There are vacant intern positions that need to be filled, especially for specialized and senior management positions in the GN.”

Why the vacancies? It’s tough to take on interns when there’s no one there to mentor them.

“Individual departments have indicated being short staffed, and having no time to train staff as reasons for not participating in the program,” the report said.

 

 

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