Older baby boomers in Canada were mostly long-term job-holders throughout their working lives, usually working for three to six private-sector employers and experiencing few layoffs, a Statistics Canada study indicates.

Who are baby boomers?

Like many countries, Canada experienced a baby boom in the 20 years after World War II, followed by a period of declining fertility. Throughout its history, this baby-boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1965) has had a major impact on society and the economy, and now is poised to transform the size and nature of the workforce. 

-Statistics Canada

Now in their mid-60s, these leading-edge boomers are the subject of a new report using data gathered over 28 years.

The study, titled "An Overview of the Working Lives of Older Baby Boomers," says about two-thirds of people at the older end of the baby boom generation entered their 50s in "long-term" jobs, defined as those lasting 12 years or more, Statistics Canada said.

"In fact, most had worked for the same firm or organization for far longer — often 20 years or more — and even this is an underestimation, since most started their longest job prior to the start of our reference period," the report says. 

Generational Training

Brad Karsh of JB Training Solutions speaks to a group of generation Xers at the Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Co. in Chicago about working with older employees. In Canada, baby boomers were mostly long-term job-holders, a Statistics Canada report indicates. (M. Spencer Green/AP Photo)

While the upper-end two-thirds of workers were in the highly stable group, about a quarter were in what the study calls "mobile workers."

They kept working through their lives, but changed jobs frequently, had lower earnings among both men and women, and had fewer years of pensionable service. 

"Nonetheless," the report says, "mobile workers at the upper end of the earnings distribution appear to have fared reasonably well in terms of annual and cumulative earnings."

In the end, the "longitudinal" study — meaning it involved observations over a long period of time — concludes that there hasn't been much change among baby boomers in their tendency to keep their long-term employment habits. 

"The prevalence and duration of long-term jobs among this cohort suggest that the working lives of most baby boomers were quite stable."