Have you ever considered changing jobs, but thought twice because it meant having to relocate or be retrained?
A new study out of Western University suggests that attitude amongst the older working population is problematic for the economy, as the manufacturing sector shrinks and the service industry grows.
“It can be very costly for workers to switch to a new sector,” explained macroeconomics expert and Western University economics professor Simona Cociuba.
She and fellow Western professor James MacGee led a study that examined worker’s characteristics — like their age, skill, and willingness to move — to determine the cost of re-allocating workers from one industry to another.
It suggests older workers don’t want to move because they’ve put down roots in a community, or are raising families. Younger workers, between 20 and 34 years old, are more willing to make a move.
“Typically these young people will not have skills yet, so you can guide them to where the jobs are. And this makes the whole process of allocating workers where the jobs are a little bit easier and less costly,” explained Cociuba.
In areas where population growth is high, Cociuba says the economy is made up of young people and therefore can adapt more easily to industry changes.
But the study says Canadians are having fewer children, which means fewer young workers will be entering the workforce in the near future.
Cociuba has two suggestions for how the country can address the aging work population.
“What incentives can we provide to draw people to where the jobs are, to the growing sectors? And of course one other policy we could think about is immigration, and being open as an economy to attracting skilled working immigrants.”