indicatorThe Owl

Women in Alberta’s labour force

Women make up 50 per cent of Alberta’s working age population compared to 46 per cent of the provincial labour force.

By ATB Economics 9 March 2020 1 min read

In light of yesterday being International Women’s Day, The Owl is taking a look at the labour force participation of women in Alberta.

Women make up 50 per cent of Alberta’s working age population compared to 46 per cent of the provincial labour force. The gap at the national level is slightly smaller at 3.3 percentage points.

In this regard, a lot has changed over the last 100 years. In 1921, women accounted for just 10 per cent of Alberta’s labour force. In 1976, when the current labour force data series starts, women represented 49 per cent of the working age population, but only 38 per cent of the labour force.

While almost three-quarters of Alberta women with jobs work full-time, they are more likely than their male counterparts to have part-time positions. Just under 27 per cent of female workers have part-time jobs compared to about 11 per cent among male workers.

Employment growth in Alberta over the last five years has been stronger among women than men. The number of jobs held by women increased by 1.4 per cent in 2019 and by 6.1 per cent compared to 2014. The number of men with jobs contracted by 0.2 per cent in 2019 and was down by 0.5 per cent compared to 2014.

The number of full-time jobs held by women has increased by 5.4 per cent since 2014, but has fallen by 1.6 per cent for men.

Another sign that women have fared somewhat better than men when it comes to finding and keeping jobs, is that the unemployment rate among women  last year was 6.2 per cent compared to 7.5 per cent for men. Both rates are, however, high compared to pre-recession levels.

These numbers only tell part of the story, but they highlight some key points. The proportion of women in the labour force has grown to the point where it is almost equal to that of men. Although women are more likely than men to work part-time, full-time employment is the norm for both sexes. And, while a sluggish economy has hurt both female and male workers, the number of jobs held by women has increased in recent years.

Women in Alberta's labour force

In 1921, women accounted for just 10 per cent of Alberta’s labour force.


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