Friday, August 24

Women working later in life, StatsCan says

Older workers — especially women — are staying longer in the workforce, reducing the danger of sudden labour shortages as baby boomers hit retirement age, Statistics Canada says.

A study published Friday says that more than 2.1 million people aged 55 to 64, representing 12 per cent of the workforce, were employed or looking for work in 2006.

That compares with just over one million, representing 10 per cent of the workforce, three decades earlier.

One big change was the tendency of women to keep working, the study says, offering contrasting figures:

  • 32 per cent of older women were in the workforce in 1976, a figure that rose steadily to 51 per cent 2006.
  • 76 per cent of older men were in the workforce in 1976, a figure that fell to 58 per cent in 1995 before rebounding to 67 per cent in 2006.
  • The combined rate for both sexes rose from 53 per cent in 1976 to 59 per cent in 2006.

"Women's labour force attachment today is much stronger throughout the life cycle than in the past," co-authors Katherine Marshall and Vincent Ferrao write.

"Therefore, as younger generations of women reach their retirement years, they will have higher rates of labour force participation than their predecessors."

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