Ontario campuses see increase in precarious jobs, study shows

February 8, 2018
Article Source
Toronto Star

More than half of all campus jobs have at least one indicator of precarity, a new report says, with temporary roles steadily on the rise over the past two decades and more employees juggling multiple jobs.

The study released Thursday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that while temporary workers accounted for 26 per cent of the college and university workforce in 1998, they made up 38 per cent in 2016. The proportion of temporary employees holding more than one job also increased from 2 per cent to almost 6 per cent over the same time period.

"The data demonstrates that there are shifts happening," said Erika Shaker, the CCPA's director of education and outreach.

"There was a lot of concerns raised about the impact it's actually having on students too. We're looking at working conditions, but those working conditions are also learning conditions."

Using data from the Labour Force Survey, the report assessed what it called three indicators of precarity in campus roles: temporary workers, multiple job holders, and unpaid work. Around 53 per cent of post-secondary employees now experience at least one of those indicators, the study said.

The proportion of those who experience none of those indicators has dropped from a high of 58 per cent in 1999 to 47 per cent in 2016. While the share of workers with just one element of job insecurity has remained stable at around 40 per cent, the share experiencing two of the indicators has almost tripled from 5 per cent to 14 per cent.

The report also solicited input from campus staff, some of whom described being unable to raise their students' concerns or safety issues with their employer for fear of losing work, financial insecurity, and mental health issues.

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