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On Women Leaving The Canadian Labour Market

Last week I blogged about a StatsCanada report that noted that the participation rate of women in the workforce was declining, which is a sudden reversal of a decades long trend. This trend was sharpest in Alberta and StatsCanada opined that the availability of day care spaces for children may have been a contributing factor.The Montreal Gazette is carrying an article today that reports that Quebec women are actually increasing labour force participation rates and provides a couple of possible explanations as to why women in other provinces are choosing to leave the workforce.?while the percentage of working-age Canadian women in the job market ? their participation rate ? began to fall only last year, it has been dropping in the U.S. since the late 1990s.

Some American observers attribute the phenomenon to a new wave of social conservatism. It's unclear if this might be a factor in Alberta."This is an important finding," says Prem Benimadhu, a vice-president at the Conference Board of Canada. Benimadhu believes that demands on employees "have become toxic" in recent years.

He thinks that some married women, particularly those waiting to start a family, are starting to find personal interests more attractive than extra income.The increase in participation rates of women was seen as one partial solution to labour shortages caused by the retirement of the baby-boomers, so expect to read more speculation about this over the coming months. An upswing in social conservatism, toxic workplaces and day-care issues may all be contributing to the trend of declining participation rates in the labour force among women - but if we really want to know why women are leaving the workforce maybe we should just ask them.

.Tony Abbis writes on the state of the Canadian labour market at the LMI Blog.

By: Tony Abbis

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