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Between 2000 and 2008, the number of Canadians who had paid employment and worked at home at least occasionally increased slightly. Even so, their share of the total workforce remained relatively stable.
In 2008, just under 1.8 million employees worked at home, compared with about 1.4 million in 2000. They represented 11.2% of all paid employees in 2008, up from 10.2% eight years earlier.
However, for self-employed workers, the situation was somewhat different as the incidence of working at home for this group has increased in recent years. In 2008, just over 1.8 million self-employed people worked at home, or 60% of the total, up from 50% or 1.4 million eight years earlier.
When employees and the self-employed are combined, the overall proportion of Canadians working at home increased about 2 percentage points from 17% to 19%.
The likelihood of working at home varied by a number of factors including level of education, hours worked, occupation, industry and income.
In 2008, for example, 54% of all employees who worked at home had a university degree, compared with 25% of those who never worked at home. Similarly, 55% of employees who worked at home at least occasionally were in professional or managerial jobs, compared with 23% of employees who did not work at home.
Of all employees, about 10% of women worked at home, slightly less than the 12% for men. Among professional employees, however, the gap between the sexes was wider: 29% of male professionals worked at home compared with 19% of female professionals in 2008.
The most common reason for working at home, cited by 25% of employees, was that it was a job requirement. The next most common reasons were that it provided better working conditions (23%) and that home was their usual place of work (18%).
The worker's family situation and distance between the home and workplace were also factors. In 2008, 12% of female self-employed workers reported that they were working at home for family reasons, compared with 3% of their male counterparts.
Among employees who lived within 4 kilometres of their workplaces, 7% had worked at home, compared with 13% of those who lived at least 30 kilometres away.
Note: Data for this study came from the General Social Survey (GSS) between 2000 and 2008. For the 2008 GSS, data were collected from 20,000 people aged 15 and over who were interviewed between February 1, 2008, and November 30, 2008. Working from home was defined as those who responded that they usually did some of their scheduled work at home.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 5024.
The article "Working at home: An update" is now available in the December 2010 online issue of Canadian Social Trends, no. 91 (11-008-X, free), from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.
Also in this issue of Canadian Social Trends is the article "Uptake of water- and energy-conservation devices in the home." The article examines the association between income, education, ownership, age of dwelling, and years lived at the dwelling and the use of low-volume toilets, low-flow showerheads, compact fluorescent light bulbs, programmable thermostats, and appliances bought to save energy or water.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (613-951-5979; email@example.com), Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division.