What Work in Canada Will Look Like in the Future
Work is more than just a way of earning money to pay the bills; it is also a key feature of our culture and provides people with purpose and dignity. Many people define themselves by what they do. Thus, determining the future prospects for the job market in Canada is very important (Watson 2008). For the most part, Canada’s economy has done relatively well during the recent economic crisis, especially when compared to some other nations. However, the economic and technological trends that have driven changes in the workforce in recent years are likely to continue for the near future. These shifting trends will affect Canadian society and its workers in a number of areas, and it is vital that steps be taken to deal with any problems that result.
In many nations, the relationship between labor and production has often been a tense one. On one side of the equation, businesses have insisted on greater productivity at lower costs. On the other side, labor (most often in the form of labor unions) has insisted that increased productivity can be best be achieved if the workers have a reasonable “living” wage and job security (Howard 2002).
The concept of a “productive” worker is a complex one. Ultimately, the question that must be asked is what societal benefit there is in increased productivity. One the one hand, it might be argued that what is best for the businesses that employ workers is best for the nation. To paraphrase, this “what is good for business is good for Canada” perspective suggests that when business does well it will automatically mean that workers benefit. However, is this approach really the best goal for society? Instead of this view, it might be better to place the emphasis on how productivity benefits the worker (Is Work Working 2004). This would make it clear that productivity increases job security and benefits.
Unfortunately, it seems likely that with the changing economy, job security will become an increasing problem (Bradley 2002). Even with union protections for current positions in manufacturing and similar jobs, the growth of the service industry and online work makes it seem probable that, in the near future, there will be far fewer full times positions available in Canada. This may in turn mean that more people will have to hold down two or more part item positions just to have the same income level they currently enjoy with one. Those that are unable to do this will often find themselves relying on government benefits to an even greater extent, placing a strain on already tight government budgets (Adams 2005).
Another area where changes will likely take place in Canada is in worker demographics. For example, it may well be that many workers will find themselves working later in life because of the aging population (Canadian Labour Market at a Glance 2007). This trend of people working later in life may in part result from improved healthcare making the current...