Workforce going grey

Labour shortages predicted as median age of workforce hits 41.3

Noticing a little more grey hair around the office recently? It may not all be stress-related. The workforce, and the population in general, is getting older, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

There are more people than ever before in the older age brackets of the working-age population, and fewer than ever in the younger brackets. The aging workforce is expected to lead to widespread labour shortages in coming years as the large cohort of older workers retire. The median age of a worker in Canada is 41.3, up from 38.1 in 1991. By 2011, the median age is projected to hit 43.7.

Over the past 10 years, the population aged 45 to 64 jumped 35.8 per cent to nearly 7.3 million, fuelled mainly by the aging baby boomers. This group accounts for virtually one-quarter of Canada’s population, and is expected to grow another 30 per cent in the next decade to about 9.5 million. By 2011, this group is expected to represent almost one-third of the population.

Canadian HR Reporter has covered this topic in detail. For more on the effect this will have on business and HR practices, click the links below.

Here’s a historic breakdown of the median age of the working population:

Year Median Age of Working Population (Ages 20-64)

1901: 35.5
1911: 34.7
1921: 36.6
1931: 37.4
1941: 37.3
1951: 37.7
1956: 38.0
1961: 38.7
1966: 39.2
1971: 38.5
1976: 37.2
1981: 36.5
1986: 37.1
1991: 38.1
1996: 39.6
2001: 41.3
2006: 42.8
2011: 43.7

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