Wage survey shows Caymanians earn more than expat workers

Caymanians on average earn significantly more than expatriates and men earn more than women, a new survey by the Economics and Statistics Office shows.

The Occupational Wage Survey 2017, released last week, finds that Caymanian employees earned an average basic wage of $50,496, compared with $44,484 for non-Caymanians. Total compensation, including commissions, bonuses or tips, is estimated to be $56,352 on average for Caymanians and $52,548 for non-Caymanians.

Although expatriates make up about 53% of the labour force, according to the statistics office’s latest labour survey released in April, Caymanians outnumber expatriates in all wage brackets except the lowest earning ones (below $2,577 per month) and the top earning bracket (above $8,127 per month).

The data is in line with similar results detailed by the last Cayman Islands census carried out in 2010.

The average basic earnings for men, at $48,204, were about $1,000 higher than the average take-home pay for women, at $47,208. However, the gap increases to more than $3,700 when total compensation is considered.

The island-wide average annual basic salary of $47,748 and total compensation $54,600 is based on data from 1,270 employers and 19,215 employees, a number that makes up nearly half of the labour force.

The median salary, which reduces the distortion of extremely high or extremely low salaries on the mean and therefore is more representative than ‘the average’, shows a total annual compensation per person of $44,004 across all industries in Cayman.

The Economics and Statistics Office conducted the survey for all types of businesses from October 2017 to February 2018, and among a sample of households with employees from November 2017 to April 2018.

The wage survey was prompted in September 2015 by the then Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs Tara Rivers, who recommended the survey as part of the implantation of a minimum wage.

A minimum wage of $6 an hour was introduced in 2016.

“Designed to an internationally comparable standard, the report brings together, for the first time, information about the local labour market that will help inform government policy and future legislation across a number of areas,” said Finance Minister Roy McTaggart in a press release accompanying the survey report.

“The Ministry of Finance is committed to working with employers, employees, human resources professionals and other stakeholders, across all sectors, to ensure that we all have access to the information that we need to make decisions that will ensure the Cayman Islands remains a competitive labour market that attracts and retains the best talent from around the world,” McTaggart added.

The 565-page report contains average monthly basic earnings and average monthly total compensation for 282 occupations.

Unsurprisingly, the lowest-earning occupations are domestic cleaners and helpers, child-care workers, agricultural workers and musicians, while the highest-paying professions are judges, web developers, lawyers, dentists and other specialist medical practitioners.


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