Determining the gender predominance of job classes
Determining whether a job class is predominantly female or predominantly male is an important step in the pay equity process. This process examines whether the work performed in the positions of a job class is mainly done by women (female predominant) or mainly done by men (male predominant). Job classes can also be gender neutral. This means that the work is not more associated with either men or women.
The employer or the pay equity committee must determine whether a job class is predominantly female or male by applying three criteria:
- Current gender predominance;
- Historical gender predominance; and,
- Gender-based occupational stereotypes.
While all three criteria must be considered, it is not necessary for all three criteria to be met to establish the gender predominance of a job class. In some cases, a job class may meet all three criteria for gender predominance, and in others, it may meet only one.
Current gender predominance
A job class in which at least 60% of the positions are occupied by men or women would meet the first criterion.
To establish the percentage of positions occupied by men or women, the employer or the pay equity committee will need to collect data on the gender of employees in those positions.
Historical gender predominance
A job class in which 60% of the positions were historically occupied by either men or women would meet the second criterion.
To determine historical predominance, the employer or the pay equity committee will need to consult past data on the gender of employees who have held the positions.
The Act does not specify the number of years of data required to determine historical predominance. The period used will depend both on the circumstances and the availability of the data. For example, a new employer starting a business will not have access to past data while another employer may have access to data going back over a long period-of-time.
Gender-based occupational stereotypes
A gender-based occupational stereotype refers to a common perception that a job or occupation is typically female or male. If the work done in the job class is associated with a male or female occupational stereotype, it would meet the third criterion.
To determine whether there is an occupational stereotype for a given job class, the employer or the pay equity committee may consult statistical data broken down by gender from their industry or from research institutions. This will allow them to verify whether the type of job in question is occupied more by women or men within their industry, or more generally, in Canada.
Graduation rates broken down by gender in a given field or program of study may also be used as indicators.
Example: Making a final gender determination
The pay equity committee at Company A examines each of its job classes to determine:
- Whether one gender occupies at least 60% of positions in each job class;
- Whether one gender historically occupied at least 60% of positions in each job class; and,
- Whether any gender-based occupational stereotypes are associated with each job class.
The pay equity committee carefully considers each of the criteria and makes the gender predominance determinations listed in the table below.
|Company A job classes||Assessment of three factors||Gender predominance determination|
|Current incumbency||Historic incumbency||Occupational stereotype|
|Administrative assistants||Neutral (53% female; 47% male)||Female||Female||Female|
|Pilots||Male (62% male; 38% female)||Male||Male||Male|
|Service managers||Neutral (56% male; 44% female)||Male||n/a||Neutral|
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