The latest Statistics Canada census data has confirmed what many in the automotive sector already know: we’re getting older.
The aging of the labour force revealed by the 2006 census will not be surprising to anyone in the automotive sector who has been involved with the hiring process.
Statistics Canada’s analysis notes that jobs in the oil and gas industry are the fastest growing occupations; employment in retail trades is growing while employment in manufacturing is declining; and the workforce is aging, in part because older workers are remaining in the workforce.
The agency’s analysis compares Census data from 2001 and 2006. In the retail sector, employment at automotive dealerships was one of the fastest growing segments. There was a substantial increase in retail trade employment, up 1.8 per cent per year on average, for a total gain of 155,800 workers from 2001 to 2006. Most of the big employment increase came from grocery stores, building materials and supplies stores and automobile dealerships. The oil and gas industry in Canada is still relatively small, but its rapid expansion in recent years has meant huge gains for a number of occupations.
Data also showed that the aging of Canada’s labour force intensified. In 2006, those aged 55 and older accounted for 15.3 per cent of the total labour force, up from 11.7 per cent in 2001. This was the result of the aging of the baby boomers, and the increased tendency for older workers to participate in the labour force. The median age of the labour force surpassed 40 years for the first time, rising from 39.5 years in 2001 to 41.2 years in 2006. The median is the point where half are older and half younger.