Job Quality Indicators » Security

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Job Security

Feeling secure and confident about the future of one’s job is an important aspect of employment quality. Job security reduces workers’ sense of economic anxiety, allowing them to make financial plans for the future.

 

Perceived Job Security Lower for Older Workers

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Many public opinion polls conducted in the 1990s showed heightened ‘economic anxiety’ among Canadians, stemming mainly from people’s sense of job insecurity during a time of high unemployment and slow economic growth. But the economy recovered at the end of the 1990s and we have seen strong economic growth in this century. So, how do Canadians perceive their job security? In 2004, most Canadians gave a positive assessment of their perception of job security. When asked to what extent they agree that their job security is good, 62 percent say they agree to a large extent, and 28 percent agree to some extent. Only 9 percent of Canadians are not as optimistic saying they do not agree at all with the statement that their job security is good. Perceptions of men and women are similar with respect to job security.

Positive perceptions of job security are lower for older workers. Those who are 55 or older are less likely to say they agree to a large extent that their job security is good. Younger workers typically change jobs frequently as part of the process of settling into a career. They are also unlikely to have families and mortgages. Hence, younger workers may be more optimistic about their future job prospects. While older workers are less likely to lose their jobs than younger workers, when they do, they face difficulties finding new jobs and often have greater on-going financial obligations. This may help explain why they are more concerned and fearful of job loss.

 

By Employment Type

Full-Time and Self-Employed Workers
Report Higher Job Security

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Canadian workers who are full-time employees are considerably more secure in their jobs than part-time employees (68 percent versus 55 percent). Perhaps not surprisingly, seasonal workers are the least secure about their jobs with over 20 percent saying they do not agree at all that their job security is good. 

Interestingly a majority of self-employed Canadian workers agree to a large extent that their job security is good (58 percent). One might expect those that are self-employed to be more concerned about job security as these individuals must continuously seek out new business to make a living, but the data would suggest otherwise. In fact, 84 percent of self-employed Canadian workers plan to remain self-employed. Clearly this is not a group that can be easily lured into working for someone else. 

 

By Size of Workplace

Job Security: Sense of Security Highest In Larger Firms

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Workplace size makes a difference with respect to job security. Employees in smaller workplaces are less likely to agree that their job security is good than those in large firms. For example, 55 percent of employees in small workplaces (1 to 10 workers) agree to a large extent that their job security is good, compared with 67 percent of employees in large workplaces (101 employees or more). This is understandable, given the higher failure rate among small firms and the fact that employees in such firms may have a greater chance of being laid off than employees in larger ones.

 

By Industry

Job Security Highest in Public Administration
and Social Services

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Of all the industries, employees in public administration are most likely to agree that their jobs security is good to a great extent (75 percent), followed by employees in social services (health, education, and welfare) (67 percent), and resource-based industries (66 percent). 

On the other hand, employees in manufacturing, distribution, and those in retail, consumer and personal services, are less likely to agree that their job security is good to a great extent (53 percent, 57 percent, and 59 percent, respectively). 

 

By Income

Employees With Higher Incomes
Report Greater Job Security

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Perceptions of job security grow incrementally with income. Employees with the lowest incomes (under $20,000) are much more likely to say that they do not at all agree that their job security is good (17 percent). On the other hand, employees with higher incomes ($60,000 and over) are more likely to agree, to a large extent, that their job security is good. Money may not buy happiness, but it does seem to help increase perceptions of job security. 

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