1 In 5 Canadians Experience Job Instability, Economic Insecurity

Over 20 percent of Canadian professionals have precarious jobs even though they possess high levels of education, credentials, skills and experience, according to a new report.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario survey, No Safe Harbour: Precarious Work and Economic Insecurity Among Skilled Professionals in Canada, reveals many Canadians are in insecure positions without a steady income, benefits, sick pay or pensions. Over 1,000 professionals across Canada participated in the study.

“We tend to think of precarious work as something that happens in low-wage, low-skill jobs, but the findings from this national survey suggest that there is no safe harbour. Even highly educated professionals are experiencing economic insecurity and unstable working conditions,” says Ricardo Tranjan, CCPA-Ontario senior researcher.

Thirty-seven percent of precarious workers live contract to contract, while 34 percent work part-time. Yet, full-time workers aren’t immune to the problem, according to researchers. Twenty-six percent of precarious professionals work at least 30 hours per week.

Interestingly, precarious workers are more likely to have a post-graduate degree (30 percent) than non-precarious professionals (23 percent).

Sixty percent of precarious professionals don’t have pensions or Registered Retirement Savings Plans and don’t receive sick pay.

Precarious professionals are employed in both the private and public sector (40 and 30 percent, respectively). While they exist in all professions, precarious professionals are more concentrated in education (28 percent), health care (18 percent), and business, finance and administration (19 percent). Forty percent of precarious professionals are men, and many are 55 and older.

“You would think the combination of education, age and experience would buffer professionals from unstable jobs, but all the hallmarks of precarious work are creeping into professions,” says CCPA-Ontario Director Trish Hennessy.

Many of these precarious professionals are stressed out by their positions. Fifty-seven percent without full-time jobs would prefer better job security, and 43 percent said not having that security keeps them awake at night.

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