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1 in 5 professionals have precarious jobs: Study

It is no longer just those working in the manufacturing sector or other sectors vulnerable to technologically-driven job loss, but even well-educated professionals are no long insulated from professional upheaval.

A new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has found that more than 22 per cent of Canadian professionals are in precarious work of some sort, including part-time work, contract work or freelance work, and women are disproportionately affected.

It found that precarious work “cuts across all employment sectors, professional occupations, wage levels, ages, and career stages.”

The study combined a survey of 1,000 professionals across Canada with four focus groups of professionals in Toronto and Winnipeg, carried out by Environics Research.

The biggest takeaway is the feeling of insecurity that is felt by professionals.

Up to 26 per cent of precarious workers reported having a full-time job. Typically, these jobs lack security (the worker is uncertain they will have a job a year from now) and lack benefits such as sick days or pensions.

Education alone won’t shield you from the problem. The survey found that precarious professionals are likelier to have a post-graduate degree (30 per cent) than non-precarious professionals (23 per cent).

The survey found professional women are far likelier than their male counterparts to be in precarious work, with women accounting for 60 per cent of all precarious professionals.

It was found that women gravitated toward less-secure jobs and the kind of jobs didn’t lead to any advancement in their profession.

The problem is not limited to private-sector jobs; in fact, two of the three sectors with the highest rates of precarious work are in the public sector — health care, where nearly one in five jobs are precarious, and education, where nearly three in 10 jobs are precarious.

The survey also found that those found a spike in the number of 55-plus age people trapped in precarious employment.

These people typically had 10 or more years of experience in their profession.

Some older workers are choosing to take on precarious jobs, often out of a desire to gain more independence or avoid full-time work, the report noted. But then again, it could just be a lack of choice which has forced them down that path.

There are some flirting basic income to deal with the economic effects of precarious work.

To determine who is a precarious worker, respondents were asked whether they had a job with a single employer with 30 or more hours per week, and if they expect to have that job a year from now. They were also asked if their job was full-time, part-time, contract or freelance.

Those who answered “yes” to the first question and reported having a full-time job were categorized as “secure professionals” (78 per cent), while the rest were categorized as “precarious professionals” (22 per cent).

Precarious work is here to stay, for a growing number of unfortunate people, there are two choices-precarious work or unemployment. -CINEWS

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