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Industry and university perspectives of work integrated learning programs in ICT degrees

In 2013, the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research group released the report It’s More than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Wellbeing. Based on 4,165 surveys collected in late 2011 and early 2012, and 83 interviews conducted in 2011 with workers in different forms of precarious employment, It’s More than Poverty examined the characteristics of employment in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA). It documented the range of employment experiences and it revealed the extent of insecurity associated with insecure employment relationships. Equally important, it showed the impact of insecure employment relationships on individual and household well-being and community participation. Not all employment relationships have the same characteristics. Some employment is better than other employment and this difference represents more than simple rates of pay. Some employment is more secure. Some employment provides supplemental benefits, such as a prescription-drug plan that insures workers’ health needs and unexpected expenses. Some employment provides a secure pension for workers when they retire. Some employment provides a career path and helps workers acquire new skills. Employment that is secure, that provides a full range of benefits and that has a possible career path is generally viewed as better employment, and it is often referred to as a Standard Employment Relationship. Having secure employment, with benefits and a possible career path, is a key to escaping poverty. Over half of PEPSO survey participants not in a Standard Employment Relationship in 2014 reported an annual income of less than $40,000, while less than 15% of those in a Standard Employment Relationship earned less than $40,000. Even when one uses household income, there is still a significant difference between those in a Standard Employment Relationship and those not in such a relationship. Nearly 45% of individuals not in a Standard Employment Relationship reported a household income of less than $60,000, compared to only 16% of those in a Standard Employment Relationship. There is a growing concern that the prevalence of the Standard Employment Relationship is in decline. Secure jobs, with benefits and a possible career path, are becoming harder tofind for many types of workers. This is true for low-wage workers who are working through temporary employment agencies (where many jobs are minimum-wage jobs), for higher-wage knowledge workers (where work is often short-term, project-based work), and for university and college professors (where more than half of all teaching is now done by contract faculty). It’s More than Poverty offered evidence of this decline in secure jobs.