Lobby groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) are quick to chastise public sector employers for “overspending” on salaries and employment benefits. This chorus typically becomes louder around budget time. But is there evidence to suggest that public employers, like the City of Regina, are overstaffed and overpaid? Historical trends say no.
To service the needs of around 175,000 residents in 1988, the City of Regina employed approximately 2,418 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. Today, with more roads, parks, and services than ever before, Regina employs a comparable number of workers, or 2,400. By measure of FTEs per 100,000 residents, the number has declined from 1,381 in 1988 to 1,111 in 2016. This year, half of the City’s expenditures were dedicated to salaries and benefits, down from around 55% in 2007.
Of course, it’s important to note that FTEs is not exactly the same as an employee count. Employee are the number of people, while FTEs are the number of full-time equivalents; sometimes there is more than one employee included in an FTE (for example, part-time workers, job share, etc.). Still, the data does provide some insights about the trend.