Written by Metcalf Innovation Fellow and labour market policy expert Tom Zizys, the paper examines our under-performing labour market and challenges the popular notion that the threat to good jobs is inevitable.
Better Work chronicles the economic and political changes that have brought us to our current situation. It reconstructs the advent of our global economy and reflects deeply on its effect on employment practices. Central to its thesis is a simple proposition: workers are not a cost to be constrained but, rather, an asset to be invested in.
Among industrialized countries, Canada has the highest proportion of residents with a post-secondary education. Yet we also have the highest rate of degree holders working in jobs earning half the median income or less. We know there are many external factors at play, and that a rise in precarious employment and the widening gap between knowledge sector and entry-level jobs is creating income disparity. But the question remains, are we responding to the emergence of technology, globalization, and increased competitiveness in the most efficient and equitable way? Are our workplace practices, labour market institutions, and the norms and values that shape our economic thinking supporting the best interests of both employers and employees?