Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Canada: Older Workers Helping Trend to Shorter Work Weeks

A study from Statistics Canada shows that fewer full-time Canadian workers are putting in long hours on the job, with older workers providing a significant part of the decline. According to "Hours polarization revisited", published in Perspectives on Labour and Income, in 2006, full-time workers put in 40.8 hours on the job on average, down from 41.5 hours in 1997, with men trending down from working long weeks (49 hours or more) and women trending up from short-term or part-time work to regular workweeks of 30 to 40 hours.

With respect to older workers (55 and above), the report found a shift away from working very long hours and and noted, in this group, the largest growth in working between 15 and 39 hours. This brought their standard workweek down 0.5 hours to 36.3 in 2006.
Interestingly, the increase in working 15 to 29 hours by older workers was for men only. While a larger proportion of older men worked 15 to 29 hours in 2006, fewer worked a 40-hour schedule (or 49 hours or more). This might indicate that older men are phasing into retirement as more of them cut back their hours or take on part-time hours after their career jobs are finished. In 2006, almost three in four men aged 55 and over worked part time out of personal preference compared with one in four men 25 to 54.
The survey also noted that older workers were becoming a larger segment of the workforce as their share of employment "increased from 10% in 1997 to 14% in 2006, while the share of core-age workers declined (from 75% to 70%) and the share of young workers remained at 15%."

Source: Statistics Canada The Daily (March 18, 2008)

Additional Source: Regina (CA) Leader-Post "Men working fewer hours: StatsCan" (March 18, 2008)

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