The results of the Occupational Wage Survey conducted in September 2003 were released recently at a luncheon meeting of the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals.
The 221-page survey report covered 2,052 employees and was conducted in a scientific method.
The first of its kind conducted in the Cayman Islands, the survey’s purpose was to create a labour market indicator and to analyse labour market trends for economic policy planning and strategy.
Department of Employment Relations director Walling Whittaker acknowledged that wages might have changed since the time of the survey.
‘We’re not saying it’s 100 per cent accurate today,’ he said. ‘It is a snapshot in time.’
Mr. Whittaker said the survey could still be used as a benchmark on what to pay employees in specific occupations.
The survey found that the average salaried employee made CI$3,218.67 per month at the time of the survey, and that the average monthly pay of wage earners was CI$1,667.32.
Disparity was shown in the earnings of males and females, with women making, on average, CI$813.13 less per month than men in the same job category.
‘Equal work does not always result in equal pay,’ Mr. Whittaker said, noting that in 62 per cent of occupations, males earn more than their female counterparts for comparable work.
Mr. Whittaker said the survey results were examined for many kinds of trends.
‘Numbers are like people,’ he said. ‘If you torture them enough, they’ll tell you anything you want to know.’
In the case of the Occupational Wage Survey, the numbers led to an important discovery.
‘The most significant factor that determines the level of pay is the level of education of the employee,’ he said. ‘Somehow we need to get that message out beyond this room.’
Mr. Whittaker said the opportunities for low-scale jobs, especially for new high school graduates, is rapidly declining.
‘We need our young people to seek further education before seeking employment,’ he said.
A second Occupational Wage Survey will be undertaken this year, which will serve as a much better representation of the local job market.
‘It will have a bigger sample size,’ said Mr. Whittaker.
He also said the next survey will also use enhanced methodology.
The 2003 survey used very broad classifications of job categories that caused the statistics for some occupations to become diluted.
This year’s survey will classify occupations based on international standards, Mr. Whittaker said.
The 2003 Occupational Wage Survey results are scheduled to be available to the public on-line at www.employmentservices.gov.ky from this week.