According to a new survey, millions of Canadians are working in the “gig economy,” and the jury is still out on whether that is a good thing.
Angus Reid Institute data suggests nearly one in five Canadians (17 per cent) are currently earning a living off temporary jobs, while the same percentage of respondents said they had worked precarious jobs in the past five years and aren’t currently.
That means more than a third of Canadian workers (34 per cent) have already participated in the gig economy, according to Angus Reid.
Two out of three Canadians surveyed say they have never worked precariously, but that could soon change. The number of temporary workers in Canada has increased by 50 per cent from 1998 to 2018, Statistics Canada reported in May.
The federal government has been warning for years about a so-called “job churn” as work evolves and disappears in the 21st century, while a staffing agency suggested “non-traditional” jobs are set to become the new norm in the coming decade, including contract work and self-employment.
Angus Reid says the most common jobs for these types of workers are freelancing in graphic design or computer programming, along with handy work, babysitting and child care. Some other popular temp jobs involve driving, sales, dog walking, house painting, lawn care, house sitting and office work.
Two out of three respondents have legitimate concerns about the lack of benefits associated with these jobs and more than half (55 per cent) worried about lacklustre regulations to protect temporary and contract workers.
Regardless, necessity is driving more Canadians than ever before to take on these precarious roles. Four out of 10 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 say they have worked temporary jobs, while one in four people over 55 say they have.
Not everyone views this economic evolution negatively. Three out of four Canadians say they see the benefit in potentially earning extra income through these types of jobs, while 39 per cent of respondents said it would help workers better control their work-life balance, the new survey found.
Workers entrenched in the gig economy are more likely to be earning household incomes under $50,000 per year, according to Angus Reid, and they’re far more likely to have concerns about household job security and their ability to retire comfortably. -CINEWS