CDHA Job Market and Employment Survey

Every two years, CDHA conducts a compensation survey to gauge employment trends in Canada and collect and analyse data on key aspects of the profession. CDHA administers the study through a contracted third party to ensure confidentiality and privacy of responses.

The response rate to the 2019 Job Market and Employment Survey was very strong at 33.08% (5,347 responses). The survey was sent out to 16,161 CDHA members as students and retired members were excluded from the survey.

Highlights of the Report
  • The average hourly wage of dental hygienists across all provinces and territories has risen slightly each year since 2013
  • Dental hygiene baccalaureate degree holders report higher average wages
  • The approximate unemployment rate for dental hygienists is 1%, which is below the current Canadian unemployment rate of 5.5% as of June 2019
  • 91% of respondents work in clinical dental hygiene; 71% work for a single employer
  • More than three quarters (84%) of dental hygienists receive employee benefits
  • 88% of respondents have decision-making authority over implementing dental hygiene services
  • Respondents working in specialty practices work most often in orthodontics (41%) and periodontics (36%)
  • Independently practising dental hygienists continue to report high levels of satisfaction
Challenges We Face:
  • Only 51% of respondents have a written contract with their employer, and only 42% have an annual performance review
  • Younger, less experienced dental hygienists are less likely to report a salary increase
  • Three quarters (75%) of respondents report experiencing work-related pain in the past year
  • Close to half of respondents (52%) state they are prevented from practising to the full scope due to provincial regulations
  • There is an increasing trend towards interprofessional collaboration, yet the majority of dental hygienists (63%) report that they have the least influence over making referrals to other health professionals
The Future:
  • 53% of respondents plan to practice more than 10 years in the profession in a clinical capacity
  • Among those who plan to stay longer than two years in the profession, the top preferred work setting is a clinical practice in a dental office (81%), followed by community health or public health, government (32%), and educational institution (28%)
  • 57% of respondents think their local economy will remain the same over the next year, 17% think it will improve and 7% think it will worsen