Nearly one in five employed Canadians, or 3.5 million people, were working part time (less than 30 hours per week) in their main or only job in 2017, according to a report released on Tuesday by Statistics Canada.
The report said youth aged 15 to 24 were the most likely to work part time (49 per cent of employed youth), followed by workers aged 55 and older (23 per cent). StatsCan added that people in the core working ages of 25 to 54 were the least likely to be part time (12 per cent) and women were twice as likely as men to work part time (26 per cent versus 13 per cent).
“The most common reasons given for part-time work were ‘going to school,’ cited by 29 per cent of part-timers in 2017, and ‘personal preference’ (28 per cent). The prevalence of going to school as a reason for part-time work reflects the relatively large share of youth aged 15 to 24 among the part-time workforce (34 per cent). Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of youth working part time were doing so because of schooling,” said the federal agency.
“On the other hand, ‘personal preference’ as a top reason can be more attributed to the choices of workers aged 55 and older. In keeping with the aging of the population, the share of older workers among the part-time workforce roughly doubled from 1997 (12 per cent) to 2017 (25 per cent). More than two thirds (70 per cent) of older part-timers in 2017 cited personal preference as the main reason for their schedule. Although they were the least likely to work part time, people in the core working ages of 25 to 54 comprised the largest share of the part-time workforce (41 per cent).”
StatsCan said economic reasons were cited by 34 per cent of core-aged part-time workers in 2017. The share was higher among core-aged men (45 per cent) than women (30 per cent).
Economic reasons means that the worker could not find, or believed they would not be able to find, suitable full-time work due to economic conditions, said the report.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.