Average hours worked per week declining

Hours worked by full-time and part-time converging
By Gordon Sova
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 06/25/2008

In ‘Hours polarization revisited,’ Jeannine Usalcas presents a study of trends in hours worked over the last decade. She found that the average workweek for Canadian employees has fallen from 36.7 hours to 36.5 hours.

Earlier statistics tied the number of hours worked per week closely to employment as either a full-time or a part-time worker. Work during the 1990s correlated higher income with long hours and full-time employment, and lower income with short hours and part-time employment. However, the new study notes more recent reductions in average hours are not the result of less full-time employment. The percentage of the workforce employed part-time, after growing strongly to a peak of 18 per cent in 1993, eased off somewhat later in the decade but has returned to the 18 per cent range recently.

Men are working fewer hours. Their average workweek dropped by 0.6 hours to 39.6 hours with the largest change coming in extremely long hours over 48 in a week. Women, in contrast, worked more hours, increasing by 0.6 on average to 33.1. There, the single largest move was to 40 hours per week. In 1997, 26.5 per cent of women worked this long. That grew to 28.8 per cent in 2006.