2021 Job Market & Employment Survey
Reported Findings

In fall 2021, CDHA conducted its biennial compensation survey with practising dental hygienist members. The main objectives were to gauge employment trends in Canada and collect and analyse data on key aspects of the profession. The survey was administered through a contracted third party to ensure confidentiality and privacy of responses.

The response rate to the 2021 Job Market and Employment Survey was strong at 23% (4,137 responses). The survey was sent out to 18,023 CDHA members as students and retired members were excluded from the survey.

Highlights of the Report

  • The average effective 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 remained at 1%, which is below the current Canadian unemployment rate of 6.7% as of October 2021
  • 94% of respondents work in clinical dental hygiene; 75% work for a single employer
  • More than three quarters (86%) 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 periodontics (44%) and orthodontics (31%)
  • Independently practising dental hygienists continue to report high levels of satisfaction

Impact of COVID-19

  • 15% of respondents are on leave because of the pandemic
  • 17% of respondents leaving the profession within the next two years are leaving because of the impact of the pandemic
  • Half of dental hygiene practice owners report a decrease in their hours and/or gross revenue

Challenges We Face:

  • Only 54% of respondents have a written contract with their employer, and only 38% have an annual performance review
  • Younger, less experienced dental hygienists are less likely to report a salary increase
  • More than 9 out of 10 respondents (92%) report experiencing work-related pain in the past year
  • There is an increasing trend towards interprofessional collaboration, yet the majority of dental hygienists (64%) report that they have the least influence over making referrals to other health professionals

The Future

  • 48% of respondents plan to practice more than 10 years in the profession
  • Among those who plan to stay longer than two years in the profession, the top preferred work setting is a clinical practice (75%), followed by community health or public health, government (37%), and educational institution (28%)