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November 08, 2019

Great Divide or Small Fissure? A Comparison of Skills, Education and Earnings across Standard and Non-standard Workers

Danielle Lamb, Ryerson University and Ken Chatoor, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

​Report

Higher skill and educational levels lead to greater job security, higher earnings

Canadian workers with higher levels of education are more likely to be employed in permanent, full-time jobs while those with higher literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills are likely to earn more money, according to a new report examining the relationship between skills, educational attainment and employment security. 

The study found that workers in non-standard jobs earn roughly 34% less per hour than their counterparts in standard employment. It defines standard work as jobs that are permanent and full time, while non-standard employment includes temporary and contract jobs as well as part-time and self-employment.

All three skill levels were associated with higher hourly earnings, with numeracy yielding the largest returns. The study found no significant relationship between skill levels and the probability of holding standard work, however it did find evidence of a link between higher education levels and having a standard job. “These findings suggest that there is still some truth to the notion that education helps to ensure employment stability,” the report states.

The report, Great Divide or Small Fissure? A Comparison of Skills, Education and Earnings across Standard and Non-standard Workers, was written by Danielle Lamb, assistant professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, and Ken Chatoor, senior researcher at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). It is part of a series of reports published under the Research Initiative on Education and Skills, a research project led jointly by HEQCO and the Mowat Centre.

In 2012, roughly 30% of workers held some form on non-standard employment, according to the report. Females were less likely than males to hold down full-time, permanent work.

The report concludes by calling on policy-makers to provide some measure of income and job security for non-standard workers, and to put in place initiatives that encourage workers to upgrade their skills and education, and employers to provide full-time permanent positions.

Great Divide or Small Fissure? A Comparison of Skills, Education and Earnings across Standard and Non-standard Workers, was written by Danielle Lamb, Ryerson University and Ken Chatoor, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.