More and more Canadians are choosing to work part-time, especially students, mothers and older workers. Whether to combine work and studies, family life and professional life, or retirement and active life, they are all seeking a better balance. But working part-time is not for everyone and has a financial impact. So what are the reasons for working and earning less? Beyond a part-time job, doesn’t working part-time reflect a real lifestyle?
After her maternity leave, Christine decided to reduce her work activities to enjoy her one-year-old daughter more. “When my maternity leave ended, I could not see myself returning to full-time work. Since I was working as a writer for a large company, I resigned to become self-employed. It was a change for which I had to bear the costs, but the satisfaction of spending more time with my child was more worthwhile.”
Like this young woman, many Canadians are choosing to work less to take care of their families more. In Christine’s case, this decision has become no longer just a family choice but a personal one. “After working for myself for a year, I took a liking to it. Even though my daughter spends more time in daycare, I don’t want to go back to a full-time job. I need time for myself.”
It must be said that with a shortage of labour in many fields, the job market for part-time work is favourable.
A change of mentality
Mothers are not the only ones seeking better quality of life. Young workers, especially millenials, have seen their parents spend their time at the office and don’t want to replicate this model. They want a job that balances private life and their career. “I am passionate about the outdoors,” explains Laurent, a programmer in a computer and multimedia company. “I chose to work four days a week to be able to devote myself to my passion whenever I have time. I don’t work on Fridays, which lets me leave three days in a row for a hike,” he adds.
Of course, less work means less income. But this reduction in income doesn’t appear to affect those who have opted for a part-time job. Being able to have schedules better suited to their life, working conditions and living with less stress seems more important for all these workers. The decision to reduce one’s work activities is not taken lightly and is often a joint decision made by a couple. “With my husband, we had several discussions before deciding that I would keep working part-time,” recounts Christine. “We set a budget. We have had to tighten our belts a bit and make a few sacrifices so that I could continue this lifestyle, but it’s worthwhile.”
For his part, Laurent does not necessarily see himself continuing this pace of life in the long term. “For the time being, the reduced schedules suit me perfectly. But when I want to, I can always apply for a full time position,” he concludes.