We find that wage inequality (as measured by the coefficient of variation) among full-time workers has almost doubled between 1980 and 2010. The rapid growth among the top 0.1% is the main driver of that increase. Changes in the characteristics of the workforce (such as age, experience and education) explain less than 25% of the rise in wage inequality; the rest is explained by increasing within-group inequality. However, changes in worker characteristics explain most of the increase in average hourly compensation over those three decades.
The Evolution of Hourly Compensation in Canada between 1980 and 2010*