Men and women equally likely to quit jobs

Gender differences in absences also relatively small

The differences in quits and absenteeism between men and women are fairly small, according to a new Statistics Canada report.

In the past, women were considered more likely to quit their jobs or miss work due to family reasons than men. This gender difference was used as an explanation for the wage disparity between the sexes.

However, new data from the Statistics Canada report, Gender differences in quits and absenteeism in Canada, shows this reasoning no longer applies.

The study found that since the early 1990s, women have been no more likely to quit their jobs than men.

The change happened between 1984 and 1994 and the lack of difference has remained steady in the new millennium.

In 1984, 5.5 per cent of men quit their job, compared with seven per cent of women. By 1994, the rate for women was 5.6 per cent, almost identical to the rate of 5.5 per cent for men, and in 2002 the rates were 7.7 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.

The study also found that 4.2 per cent Canadian women took temporary leaves due to pregnancy and maternity in 2002.

The study examined three types of absences (absences due to maternity or pregnancy reasons were excluded): paid sick absence; other paid absences; and unpaid absence. The other paid absences included education leave, disability leave, and leaves due to bereavement, marriage and jury duty.

The study found that, on average, men took two days of paid sick absence, while women took about four days of paid sick absence per year. Half of this gender difference in paid sick absence can be explained by factors such as age, wages and union status.

However, there were no gender differences in terms of the other paid and unpaid absences. The only exception was women with young children. On average, they took two more days of unpaid absences than women who did not have young children.

The study indicates that, since the 1990s, the quitting behaviour of Canadian women more closely resembled that of Canadian men than it used to. And the gender differences in unscheduled absences were relatively small in Canada.

Quit rates (per cent) by sex and age 1984 to 2002

All ages
Including women who did not return to work in subsequent year due to maternity7.46.08.1
25 to 34 years old
Including women who did not return to work in subsequent year due to maternity8.17.310.2
35 to 44 years old
Including women who did not return to work in subsequent year due to maternity5.04.05.9

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