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Who works part time and why?

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Labour statistics at a glance
Patterson, Martha
Publication Date: 
5 Nov 2018


Caring for children is a driver for many core-aged women

Although economic conditions was the top reason cited by core-aged women, this was followed closely by childcare (27%) and personal preference (22%). Looking at smaller age groups, childcare was the most common reason for female part-timers aged 30 to 39. This peaked between ages 35 and 39, when nearly half (45%) of women working part time cited childcare as the main reason. Childcare was also the primary reason for part-time work for nearly 1 in 10 male part-timers in the same age group.

Not all female part-timers with young children in the home indicated that childcare was the main reason for their work schedule. For example, nearly two-thirds (62%) of core-aged women working part time whose youngest child was aged two or younger cited childcare as the primary reason, while 18% cited economic reasons, and 10% chose personal preference (Chart 1). The share giving childcare as the main reason declined as the age of the youngest child increased. For women whose youngest child was in the teen years, economic reasons and/or personal preference were more common drivers of part-time work.

The likelihood of working part time was slightly higher among women whose youngest child was under age 6 (23%) compared with those whose youngest child was aged 6 to 17 (21%).