Canada faces 'economic crisis' if gender employment divide remains

TORONTO - Job prospects for women are looking increasingly bleak as the so-called fourth industrial revolution puts female-dominated industries at imminent risk.

See Full Article

In Canada, where the traditional gender employment divide persists, that could mean a big hit to the economy given that almost half of the Canadian labour force is comprised of women.

"If we can't equip 50 per cent of our workforce with some of the foundational skills for where much of the market growth is going, we will be in a real economic crisis," Jane Wilson, the women's services director at Community MicroSkills Development Centre, said in a recent interview.

Canada will lack talented people to fill empty job openings, she said, and will be forced to fund social services for women missing the in-demand skills who find themselves unemployed.

Over the next four years, technological advances, like robotics and 3D printing, are expected to shift the employment landscape in a way that most adversely impacts traditionally female industries, according to a recent future jobs report from the World Economic Forum.

Nearly 4.8 million office and administrative jobs, for example, will disappear globally by 2020. Currently, women fill more than half of those roles around the world.

Meanwhile, some male-dominated industries, like architecture and engineering, stand to gain hundreds of thousands of jobs over the same time period.

Overall, women can expect to lose more than five jobs for each one gained, the report found, while men will lose about three jobs for every new position created.

That scenario is likely to play out in Canada, where the employment landscape reflects these historical gender divides, said Chanel Grenaway, the director of economic development for the Canadian Women's Foundation.

"Sadly, that hasn't changed," she said.

Many Canadian women are employed in the office and administrative jobs the report projects are largely disappearing. Women make up 94 per cent or more of all medical and office administrative assistants, receptionists, court reporters, medical transcriptionists and related occupations in Canada, according to Catalyst, a non-profit organization working to improve workplace inclusion for women.

In the meantime, male-dominated vocations - architecture, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing and production - will grow, says the World Economic Forum.

In those fields, statistics on the limited female participation can be misleading, Wilson says.

Last year, for example, StatCan figures indicated about 817,000 women worked in the goods-producing sector in industries like agriculture and construction. But those numbers don't tell the whole story, said Wilson.

"When you get down to who's actually an apprentice and completing apprenticeships, that's where the numbers take a deep dive," she said.

In 2011, women held 14 per cent of registered apprenticeships in the country, predominantly working as hair stylists or cooks. Two per cent or less of all carpentry, plumbing and heavy equipment apprentices that year were female.

In those industries, women's work is often confined to more traditionally female roles, like administration, marketing or communications, she said.

Despite efforts to move more women into those in-demand professions and trades, "we haven't seen a big shift in the dial," said Grenaway.

Both Grenaway and Wilson advocate for more investment for programs geared to helping women train for and transition into such career paths - particularly, programs that focus on helping women overcome unique barriers to employment, like access to affordable childcare.

Otherwise, Canada will be left lacking a talented workforce to fill future job openings.

"There's a downside as far as the economy goes whichever way you look at it if we don't take a harder look at the magnitude of effort and investment that will be needed to turn around the ship ... so that women are heading in droves towards these jobs," Wilson said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Why do you need a pet insurance, right here, right now

    Economic 24news
    Many Canadians would consider their pets as a part of their immediate, granular, family. Although some professionals think it’s not healthy, that’s the way life is in the twenty first century; There is a steep decline in the birth rate globally, with Japan leading the pack, and pets are filling in the void.
  • Why Trump's desire for a protectionist wall threatens more than NAFTA: Don Pittis

    Economic CBC News
    Completing Donald Trump's Mexican border wall seems as far away as it ever did. But some Canadian trade experts fear the protectionist president may be succeeding in building trade walls that could weaken the entire global economy. Source
  • Lower U.S. business taxes, uncertainty over NAFTA complicate Trudeau's investment pitch in Davos

    Economic CBC News
    One of Canada's central aims at this year's World Economic Forum is to convince global business leaders that Canada is still an attractive place to invest. It is a challenge made all the more difficult because of the uncertainties posed by ongoing NAFTA negotiations and recent cuts to U.S. Source
  • Amazon to debut store without checkout in downtown Seattle

    Economic CTV News
    SEATTLE - Amazon employees have been testing it, but is the public ready for a cashier-less store? More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon is opening its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle on Monday. Source
  • Asian stocks mixed after U.S. government shutdown

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after global investors shrugged off the latest U.S. government shutdown. KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 per cent to 3,495.40 while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 per cent to 23,764.96. Source
  • Amazon to debut cashier-less store in downtown Seattle

    Economic CTV News
    SEATTLE -- Amazon employees have been testing it, but is the public ready for a cashier-less store? More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon is opening its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle on Monday. Source
  • 'Archaic' liquor laws in B.C. hurt consumers, whisky distributor says

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- An Alberta-based whisky distributor says "archaic" liquor policies in British Columbia are limiting the range of products consumers can access. Robert Carpenter with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society says B.C. bars have long skirted rules that prevent them from buying unique products at private liquor stores that aren't carried at government stores. Source
  • With a deep tech talent pool, Toronto could hit Amazon's 'sweet spot' with bid for new HQ

    Economic CBC News
    Toronto faces stiff competition in its bid to court Amazon, but some Canadian tech experts agree that among the 20 cities short-listed as potential locations for the company's second headquarters, Toronto might just hit "the sweet spot. Source
  • HBC's Lord & Taylor to lay off 200 in U.S. operations move

    Economic CTV News
    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Lord & Taylor has announced that it will be laying off about 200 people at a Pennsylvania distribution centre as it moves some operations to a new location about 80 kilometres away. Source
  • Four things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Four things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week: Time to have "the talk"? Alimentation Couche-Tard's hosts its first-ever investor day on Monday. The large convenience store chain, which operates as Circle K outside Quebec, recently said it hasn't given up hope of selling cannabis as some Western Canadian provinces turn to the private sector for over-the-counter sales. Source