A higher education and professional career can be the gateway to many privileges — but amidst Canada’s shifting economic tides, job security isn’t always one of them, according to a new study.
A survey of 1,000 professionals across the country found that one in five are in precarious jobs, working contract-to-contract, part-time, or freelance. More than half of those in insecure employment said their income varied significantly, and 60 per cent said they don’t have pension plans or sick pay.
Conversely, 85 per cent of professionals with secure jobs had pensions and 94 per cent said they got paid if they were ill.
Regardless of job status, the study conducted by progressive think tank the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found a “widespread sense of economic insecurity,” with 58 per cent of all professionals surveyed reporting their job used to be more stable.
“A number of the hallmarks of precarious jobs in low-wage jobs like a pension plan, like a sick day, like a predictable income, a predictable schedule — all of those things were found in a good percentage of professional jobs,” said the report’s co-author Ricardo Tranjan.
“The key point is that when we talk about precarious jobs in Canada we tend to think about it as something to happen to low-wage jobs, but that is not the case.”
A study, completed in 2017 by two independent experts appointed by the Ontario government, found that almost half of low-income earners in the province are in precarious jobs. Research for the Law Commission of Ontario, based on 2008 data, found that workers with less than a high school diploma as well as recent immigrants, women and people of colour, are overrepresented amongst vulnerable workers.