October 6, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The London Poverty Research Centre at King’s (LPRC) has completed a research study on precarious employment and its impacts in London, Ontario. Unemployment rates may be the lower than previous years, however, about half of working-age Londoners are currently either precariously employed or not working at all. We define precarious work as work that is typically part-time, temporary, or contract, and often without longer term job security and employment based benefits. It is often called non-standard employment.

The results of the study suggest that precarious employment has a significant impact on the individuals, families and communities it touches, and that these impacts are indeed widespread and pervasive in London. Moving forward, lead researcher Dr. Joe Michalski, Associate Academic Dean at King’s University College, would like to see more extensive sampling of the London population in order to maximize the reach of this study and its results.

“We are reasonably confident, from multiple data sources, that nearly half of those currently working in London are engaged in some type of non-standard or precarious work. While some choose such work to accommodate their lifestyles and family situations, far more find themselves suffering negative social and economic effects that are linked to not having standard, full-time jobs with benefits”, says Dr. Michalski.
Study results also revealed critical information about the relationship between precarious employment and health, and indicated important demographic trends with regards to precarious work. Study participants answered questions about their backgrounds, family situations, current employment, health, and economic standing.

Qualitative analysis of this research will be ongoing as the LPRC at King’s hosts its fall panel series “Precarious Employment in London”. All are welcome to attend the first of three events on October 17th at 6:00 pm, at the Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre at King’s University College, 266 Epworth Ave, London ON. Tickets are free and can be found on Eventbrite.

In an effort to replicate similar studies conducted in other Ontario cities by the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research group, the LPRC at King’s study analyzed survey results from a random sampling of 800 employed London CMA residents. The LPRC contracted Leger, the same survey research group which conducted the other PEPSO studies, to survey participants on their experience with precarious work, mental health, general health, and overall quality of life. Additionally, recent Statistics Canada data on employment and income in London was incorporated into study findings. The results are timely, as the province continues recent work with changes to minimum wage and labour laws, and Statistics Canada prepares to release its Canadian Labour Force Survey today.|

After evaluating answers to survey questions completed by phone interviews, results indicated the following:

  • About half of working-aged Londoners have “secure” or “stable” employment.
  • While London’s unemployment rate has decreased to pre-recession levels, unemployment rate does not measure what types of employment working Londoners are engaged in.
  • London’s employment rate is lower than the provincial and national average.
  • Married or common law respondents were significantly less likely to be precariously employed, and young adults were among the most likely.
  • Respondents with precarious work reported being more dissatisfied with their employment than those with standard or secure work.
  • Respondents with higher levels of self-reported health were less likely to be precariously employed, and respondents who reported high levels of job satisfaction had significantly higher levels of self-reported health.
  • Precarious work showed a strong correlation with higher levels of depression and anger, and had a direct impact on respondents’ family lives.
  • Roughly one in three respondents felt that uncertainty regarding their employment directly impeded their ability to do things with friends and family.
  • More than one in four respondents reported being depressed “sometimes” or “often” as a result of their employment situation.

For more information:
Dr. Joe Michalski, Lead Researcher
Associate Academic Dean and Associate Professor, Sociology
King’s University College
London Poverty Research Centre at King’s
519-433-3491 ext. 4439

About the London Poverty Research Centre at King’s: The LPRC at King’s is a research and public outreach organization dedicated to community-based participatory research on three main focus areas: precarious employment, poverty reduction, and mental health and homelessness. The LPRC’s primary functions are to facilitate meaningful dialogue about poverty in the London community, amplify voices of lived experience, and maintain and distribute a robust, accessible database of information and statistics on poverty in London. To learn more, please visit us online at www.povertyresearch.ca or send us an email at manager@povertyresearch.ca.