The focus of this paper is on a microeconomic analysis of the annual transition rate from temporary to permanent work of individual workers in Canada for the period 1999–2004. Given that a large proportion of temporary employment is involuntary, an understanding of the factors associated with the transition to permanent work may inform public policy. Factors associated with the transition, namely, human capital, household structures and labour market segmentation are analyzed using data from the Statistics Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) for the period 1999–2004, limited to paid workers aged 20–64 years, excluding students. Among the key factors associated with the transitions are younger age and low unemployment rates. The analysis adds to the Canadian and international literature on transitions from temporary to permanent work.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Temporary work may be chosen because it offers an opportunity to better balance work and family responsibilities (for a given set of care options and constraints), and in a limited set of circumstances, temporary work may be both high paying and personally rewarding. For the majority of temporary workers, however, this type of work is undertaken involuntarily.
It is not possible to estimate the percentage of involuntary temporary workers in Canada because such a question as used in other countries about why workers accept the temporary work is not included the Canadian nationally representative data sets.
Note that Australians use the dichotomy of casual and permanent, where casual refers to jobs not covered by standard employment benefits, such as paid sick and holiday leave’. Campbell and Burgess (2001, p. 180) also argue that Australian Bureau of Statistics “data on casual employees underestimate the number and proportion of temporary employees in Australia”.). The term “casual” used in this paper and in other papers using European Labour Force Surveys, refers to a sub-category of the temporary category.
This paper complements research at the aggregate level on the relationship between temporary work, unemployment, and employment protection (see, for example, Baker et al. 2004).
See Bentolila and Dolado (1994) on the existence of a dual labour market in Spain with permanent workers as insiders and temporary workers as outsiders.
The Master File of SLID contains the individual’s employment insurance (EI) region. Information on the annual unemployment rate between 2000 and 2004 for each EI region was provided by HRSDC.
The result that older workers are less likely to make the transition to permanent worker than younger workers appears to run counter to a human capital hypothesis that older workers, given their greater labour market experience, should have higher rates of transition to permanent work. On the other hand, employers may be more reluctant to make investment in older workers in temporary work arrangement and offer them permanent positions due to their shorter career horizon for employers to recoup the costs of hiring and training (Hutchens 1986).
Amuedo-Dolantes, C. (2000). Work transitions into and out of involuntary temporary employment in a segmented market: Evidence from Spain. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 55(2), 309–325.
Baker, D., Glyn, A., Howell, D., & Schmitt, J. (2004). Unemployment and labor market institutions: The failure of the empirical case for deregulation. Report to the International Labour Organization and available at http://www.newschool.edu/cepa/.
Bentolila, S., & Dolado, J. J. (1994). Labour flexibility and wages: Lessons from Spain. Economic Policy, 18, 54–99.
Blanchard, O., & Landier, A. (2001). The perverse effects of partial labour market reform: Fixed term contracts in France. Economic Journal, 112, 829–853.
Blank, R. (1994). The dynamics of part-time work. NBER, Working Paper No. 4911.
Booth, A. L., Dolado, J. J., & Frank, J. (2002a). Symposium on temporary work: Introduction. Economic Journal, 112, F181–F188.
Booth, A. L., Francesconi, M., & Frank, J. (2002b). Temporary jobs: Stepping stones or dead ends?. Economic Journal, 112, F189–F213.
Campbell, I., & Burgess, J. (2001). Casual employment in Australia and temporary employment in Europe: Developing a cross-national comparison. Work, Employment & Society, 15(1), 171–184.
Chalmers, J., & Kalb, G. (2001). Moving from unemployment to permanent employment: Could a casual job accelerate the transition? Australian Economic Review, 34(4), 415–436.
Doeringer, P. B., & Piore, M. J. (1971). Internal labor markets and manpower analysis. Lexington: D.C. Heath.
Fuller, S., & Vosko, L. (2008). Temporary employment and social inequality in Canada: Exploring intersections of gender, race, and immigration status.
Galarneau, D. (2005). Earnings of temporary versus permanent employees. Perspectives on Labour and Income, 17(1), 40–53.
Gaston, N., & Timcke, D. (1999). Do casual workers find permanent full-time employment? Evidence from the Australian Youth Survey. The Economic Record, 75(231), 333–347.
Holmlund, B., & Storrie, D. (2002). Temporary work in turbulent times: The Swedish experience. Economic Journal, 112(480), F245–F269.
Hutchens, R. (1986). Delayed payment contracts and firm’s propensity to hire older workers. Journal of Labor Economics, 4(4), 439–457.
Janz, T. (2004). Low-paid employment and ‘moving up’. Income Statistics Division, Income research paper series, Statistics Canada.
Kapsalis, C., & Tourigny, P. (2005). Duration of non-standard employment. Perspectives on Labour and Income, 17(1), 31–39.
MacPhail, F., & Bowles, P. (2008). Temporary work and neoliberal government policy: Evidence from British Columbia, Canada. International Review of Applied Economics.
Morissette, R., & Johnson, A. (2005). Are good jobs disappearing in Canada? Analytical Studies Research Paper Series, No. 239. Statistics Canada.
Noreau, N. (2000). Longitudinal aspect of involuntary part-time employment. Income Statistics Division, Statistics Canada.
O’Reilly, J., & Bothfeld, S. (2002). What happens after working part time? Integration, maintenance or exclusionary transitions in Britain and western Germany. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 26, 409–439.
Polivka, A. E. (1996). Into contingent and alternative employment: by choice? Monthly Labor Review, 119(10), 55–74.
Segal, L. M., & Sullivan, D. G. (1997). The growth of temporary services work. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(2), 117–136.
Vosko, L., Zukewich, N., & Cranford, C. (2003). Precarious jobs: A new typology of employment. Perspectives on Labour and Income, 15(5), 39–49.
Wiens-Tuers, B. A. (2001). Employee attachment and temporary workers. Journal of Economic Issues, 35(1), 45–48.
The authors thank Workshop participants for helpful comments, especially David Green.
Means for main variables of interest for the whole sample and for sub-samples by gender
|Variable||Whole sample||Male sample||Female sample|
|Not visible minority|
|Single, never married|
|Married, common law||0.712||0.721||0.702|
|Number of children||1.553||1.508||1.602|
|Less than high school grad.|
|High school graduate||0.298||0.295||0.301|
|Non-U. postsecondary certif.||0.348||0.337||0.360|
|University degree or certificate||0.214||0.208||0.220|
|Work experience (years)||16.76||0.008||14.720|
|Prince Edward Island||0.005||0.005||0.005|
|Urban 500,000 and higher||0.446||0.444||0.448|
|Business, finance, admin.||0.201||0.101||0.309|
|Natural and applied science||0.074||0.114||0.030|
|Art, culture, recreation, sports||0.021||0.018||0.024|
|Sales and service||0.223||0.177||0.274|
|Trades, transport and equip. op.||0.147||0.263||0.020|
|Processing, mfg., utilities||0.092||0.123||0.058|
|Forest, fish, mining, oil and gas||0.022||0.035||0.007|
|Finance, insurance, real estate||0.058||0.041||0.077|
|Prof., scientific, tech. service||0.053||0.054||0.052|
|Management, admin. support||0.032||0.030||0.034|
|Health and social services||0.112||0.037||0.195|
|Information, culture, recreation||0.043||0.045||0.041|
|Accom., food and other services||0.087||0.069||0.107|
|Not multiple job holder|
|Multiple job holder||0.085||0.075||0.096|
|Not covered by agreement|
|Covered collective agreement||0.354||0.367||0.340|
|Earnings from job ($000/year)||34.118||41.000||26.624|
|Unemployment rate (%)||7.990||8.011||7.967|
|Family income ($000/year)||61.903||62.994||60.715|
|Major income earner|
|Spouse or common-law partner||0.304||0.122||0.503|
|Parent of major income earner||0.008||0.005||0.011|
|Child of major income earner||0.046||0.054||0.038|
|Firm size 1–19|
|Firm size 20–99||0.169||0.174||0.164|
|Firm size 100–499||0.144||0.150||0.138|
|Firm size 500–999||0.075||0.074||0.076|
|Firm size over 1000||0.348||0.355||0.339|
|Number of observations||62,000||31,215||30,785|
About this article
Cite this article
Fang, T., MacPhail, F. Transitions from Temporary to Permanent Work in Canada: Who Makes the Transition and Why?. Soc Indic Res 88, 51–74 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-007-9210-7
- Transition rates
- Permanent jobs
- Labour market flexibility