Globe and Mail

Women close job-stability gap

By DARREN YOURK
Globe and Mail Update
Wednesday, October 16 – Online Edition,
Posted at 10:40 AM EST
The Globe and Mail

Job stability was much higher among men than women in the 1980s, but the gap had all but closed by 2001.

A Statistics Canada report released Wednesday found that job stability measured by the proportion of people who worked for the same employer for at least one additional year increased steadily during the 1990s to more than offset declines in the 1980s.

The study, compiled from Labour Force Survey data, found that, in 1980, about 78 per cent of men held their jobs for at least one more year, compared with 74 per cent of women.

By 2001, 80 per cent of men had job stability and the proportion for women had risen to 79 per cent.

Men and women with a university degree had greater job stability than their counterparts with a high school education or less.

In 2001, 85 per cent of men with a university degree held their jobs for one more year, compared with 77 per cent of men with a high school education or less.

Similarly, 85 per cent of women with a university education held their jobs for at least one additional year, compared with 76 per cent of women with a high school education or less.

The study says that from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, job stability rose 2.2 per cent in Canada but declined 1.8 per cent in the United States.

A rise in stability of short-tenured jobs those lasting less than two years was observed in both countries, but the United States saw a decline in the stability of jobs with two-to-15 years of tenure.

"Job stability tends to fall during economic booms and to rise during slower growth periods," the study says. "In a robust economy, workers have more opportunities to change jobs, leading to decreased job stability. In slow economies, fewer opportunities to change jobs are presented, so workers tend to stay with their jobs longer."

The study concludes that the relative rise in job stability in Canada compared with the United States may have been driven by the slower economic recovery in Canada.

Job stability also rises with age the study found, with workers aged 40 to 54 enjoying the most stability. In 2001, 89 per cent of men in this age group held on to their jobs for at least one more year, compared with only 81 per cent of men aged 25 to 39 and only 57 per cent of those aged 15 to 24.

Similarly, 88 per cent of women aged 40 to 54 kept their jobs for at least one more year, compared with 80 per cent of those aged 25 to 39 and only 56 per cent of those aged 15 to 24.

On average, job stability declines after age 54, reflecting the influence of retirement.

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