Payday woes

Almost half of Canadians feel underpaid, but they might just be overconfident.

Every payday, almost half of Canadians feel hard done by, with a recent poll suggesting that 46% of Canadians believe they’re underpaid. Results vary by region, though; only 38% of Ontarians think they earn less than they deserve, while in Quebec, 54% of respondents say they’re getting a raw deal.

The research, conducted by Carleton University Survey Centre and the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, is in keeping with a recent U.S. poll conducted by Gallup, a public opinion research company, which reported that 45% of U.S. workers felt underpaid.

While some Americans attributed the results to post-recession employee frustrations after layoffs, when they were required to work harder without raises, Canadian researchers think the dissatisfaction may stem from media attention. CEOs who pocketed huge bonuses, or floated away on golden parachutes amid mass layoffs and cutbacks, were provoking. This may also be the reason why 75% of Canadian poll respondents said that the income differences in the country are too large.

Or perhaps Canadians just have an excessively high opinion of themselves. A large majority, 82%, believe themselves to be part of the middle class, suggesting that the problem isn’t so much the pay as the perception.