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This survey is a comprehensive scientific study of wages and benefits analysed by gender, occupation, education level and national status across 54 industry sectors.

Mr. Walling Whittaker, Director DER

Published 2nd December 2006, 5:4pm

The Department of Employment Relations (DER) this week released the results of its 2005 Occupational Wage Survey (OWS), which is a continuing initiative by the Department to improve the availability of quality labour market information for the Cayman Islands. The survey measures wages, salaries and benefits by occupation across different sectors at a specific point in time and is designed to give insight into issues concerning the current labour market. Director of Employment Relations, Mr. Walling Whittaker said, "This survey is a comprehensive scientific study of wages and benefits analysed by gender, occupation, education level and national status across 54 industry sectors." Of an estimated 3155 establishments a sample of 300 establishments were targeted to report on data pertaining to September 2005, of which 280 establishments responded to the survey yielding a response rate of 93.3%. The 280 participating establishments had a total of 9,946 employees of which 3,579 employees were covered in the survey. The 2005 OWS produced a number of significant results, which should prove instructive for both government and the private sector. Of particular note was the finding that Caymanians now outnumber work permit holders in the higher income brackets. Of those employees whose basic monthly salary exceeded $3688 during September 2005 Caymanians accounted for 54%. This trend continued into 2006 as can be seen in the Economics and Statistics Office's recent Labour Force Survey which shows that Caymanians account for 63% of those employees whose earnings exceeded $3333. Whilst welcoming this development, the Honourable Alden McLaughlin, JP, also sounded a note of caution. The Honourable Minister remarked, "Although more Caymanians are moving into the higher income brackets, this movement is not matched by a corresponding increase in educational attainment." The implications of this are that in times of labour market shocks and adjustments these employees may be the most vulnerable to redundancies as businesses will seek to retain their intellectual capital and shed their lesser qualified staff. Looking forward with a view to addressing this issue, the Honourable Minister continued, "It is the intention of my ministry to mitigate such vulnerability by placing a high priority on training and the acquisition of higher degrees and qualifications by Caymanians. My ministry intends to increase the percentage of Caymanians holding higher degrees through a concerted effort to develop world-class programmes at UCCI supplemented by overseas training and education where necessary. The long-term success and stability of our islands will depend on the development of our human capital." The Department of Employment Relations is looking to reformat the results for future years so that the findings of the OWS become even more useful. Focusing more industry sector, this will allow end users to look at occupational salaries and wages within their specific sector and will also allow comparison of occupations across the various sectors. Mr. Whittaker commented that future surveys will be "Further improved by including salaries and benefits for government positions and by expanding the sample size for specific key industry sectors such as tourism and finance." He added, "We will be striving to complete the next survey and publish the results by August 2007, so as to make it more timely and relevant for those companies seeking to update their compensation packages in the final quarter of the year." The Occupational Wage Survey is a component of the Caribbean Labour Market Information System (CLMIS), a project supported with training and project development by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the U.S. Department of Labour. It is an effort to build and enhance capacity for the production and use of labour market information within the English speaking Caribbean and Suriname.