Job Quality Indicators » Security

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Temporary Employment

For most Canadians, knowing that they will still have a job in six weeks or six months is important for their economic security. Yet continuous employment is more elusive than it used to be. Today, 13 percent of all employees - one in eight - indicate that they work in a temporary job (a job with a specified end date), up from 8 percent in 1989. More than 1.5 million Canadians are currently employed in temporary jobs. That’s about the same number of people that are employed in the entire province of Alberta!

 

Temporary Employment: One in Eight Now Work a Temp Job

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).
 

Temporary employment is most prevalent among young people, many of whom are students working in casual jobs after school or on weekends. While a fair number of young people may choose temporary work, the majority do not. Two thirds (65 percent) of those under 25 say they’d prefer permanent work.

 

By Age

Temporary Employment: Young People Most Frequently Work Temp Jobs 

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).
 

Temporary employment is most prevalent among young people, many of whom are students working in casual jobs after school or on weekends. While a fair number of young people may choose temporary work, the majority do not. Two thirds (65 percent) of those under 25 say they’d prefer permanent work.

 

By Industry

Temporary Employment: Most Common in Agriculture, Least Common in Manufacturing Utilities

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).
 

Temporary employment has long been prevalent in industries such as agriculture and construction where work cycles are seasonal or tied to specific projects. But temporary employment is also common in many knowledge sectors of the economy. For example, 24 percent of employees in management and administrative services are employed on a temporary basis, as are 19 per cent of those in educational services and 15 per cent of those in public administration.

 

By Region

Temporary Employment: Most Common in Eastern Provinces

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).

 

By Outcomes

Temporary Employment: Temp Workers Less Likely to Agree
That Job Security or Benefits Are Good

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).
 
 

The Expectations of Temporary Workers

Temporary Workers

% who say it is somewhat or very likely their temporary job will be renewed

% who say it is somewhat or very likely their temporary job will lead to a permanent position with the firm

All

72%

48%

Less than age 25

68%

43%

Age 25 or older

61%

34%

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).
 

The preference for permanent work raises questions about whether temporary positions are stepping-stones to more secure employment or dead-end traps. Temporary workers are much more likely to feel their temporary job will be renewed rather than lead to a permanent position.

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