The workplace trend that’s allowing Saskatchewan workers to make extra money, quickly
If you’re looking to make a high wage and don’t mind working longer hours, then Saskatchewan is the place to be. The amount of employees getting paid to work over time in the prairie province is growing fast. [Find out more about job opportunities in Saskatchewan]
According to a July report put out by the Fraser Insititue, the number of Saskatchewan employees working overtime rose by 60 per cent over the last decade, while the rest of the country (excluding Alberta) experienced a 3.3 per cent rise. Over one in 10 workers in Saskatchewan got paid overtime in 2013 and over a quarter of workers are working over 40 hour work weeks.
Philip Cross, the author of the report, says the province’s low unemployment rate has a lot to do with it.
“(Saskatchewan employers) just ran out of people. They really didn’t have an alternative,” he says. “There just aren’t a lot of people on the street looking for jobs.”
The sectors that pay out the most overtime in Saskatchewan are construction, health care, natural resources, professional services and trades. Cross says it also comes down to cost, as employers would rather pay existing workers overtime rather than hiring new ones.
“There’s an economic theory that there’s very significant to little overhead cost to both hiring and firing …. we know that employers will always extend the work week before they’ll hire a new person because of the cost involved.”
He says this is “nothing but good news unless you don’t like working.” It’s a good opportunity for workers to make a lot of money in a short amount of time. And while employers are paying out in overtime, it’s increasing the supply of labour in the province.
“It’s encouraged people to stay in the labour force, it’s encouraged them to work these longer work weeks, but the questions is, ‘Is that going to work for a sustained period of time?'” says Cross.
He argues no. He says that workers (especially ones closer to retirement) who make higher wages with over time pay may decide they are ready to retire earlier than planned.
“… the strategy might blow up for employers. They might find their employees are so rich, they’ll retire faster,” says Cross. “So, I think there’s a real risk and it’s (only a risk) for employers.”
The report also noted that wages have risen dramatically in Saskatchewan compared to central Canada. Between 2009 and 2013 nominal average hourly earnings (including overtime) rose 18.2 per cent in the province. It’s just behind Newfoundland at 20.9 per cent and in front of Alberta at 14.1 per cent.
See what it’s like to live and work in Saskatchewan.
Angelina Irinici is an award-winning journalist from Saskatoon, Sask. She recently moved back to her home city and is working as a television reporter. She is a graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism school. You can find her on Twitter at @angelinairinici.