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Fewer than 50% of Torontonians have permanent full time jobs

In a city that boasts its fair share of scary economic stats (see here and here, for instance), this latest figure from a study undertaken by McMaster University and the United Way might be the scariest of all. 52 per cent of workers across the GTA and Hamilton are employed in temporary, part-time, and/or contract positions.

"The Precarity Penalty" highlights a number of pitfalls associated with non-secure employment, which include a lack of health benefits, job security, and career-based job training. Precarious workers have far higher rates of mental health problems than those with secure jobs, and widely report added stress to family life.

While low income earners are hit the hardest in this capacity, those without secure jobs report detrimental effects across the income range. And the trend away from secure employment is only increasing as traditionally secure manufacturing jobs become more scarce and the service and knowledge-based industries grow.

"Since the mid-1980s, the impact of precarious employment has spread beyond women and
racialized workers to reach the wider economy," the report's authors explain. "It has become increasingly prevalent in the knowledge sector, where employment is often project-based. It has become a dominant form of employment in the arts, media and communications sectors."

The shift to non-secure employment has also been witnessed in the academic world, where more and more faculty are employed as contract workers, a trend that has been at the forefront of numerous labour disputes at Toronto universities and colleges.

As far as solutions go, the report advocates for better job training, better notice for workers as pertains to scheduling, closer study of the labour market, and improvements to child care to lessen the burden faced by those lacking secure employment.

The Precarity Problem is based on a survey of 4,193 workers in the GTA and Hamilton, aged 25 to 65.

Photo by Bensopn Kua in the blogTO Flickr pool


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