While traditional labour market estimates indicate that there has been little change in the proportion of workers holding multiple jobs in North America, survey instrument deficiencies may be hiding more substantial growth driven by the gig economy. To address this possibility, I test a broader measure of multiple jobholding to examine its prevalence in the Canadian workforce based on two national studies of workers (2011 Canadian Work Stress and Health Study and 2019 Canadian Quality of Work and Economic Life Study). Almost 20% of workers in 2019 reported multiple jobholding – a rate that is three times higher than Statistics Canada estimates. While multivariate analyses reveal that the multiple jobholding rate in 2019 was 30% higher than in the 2011 Canadian Work Stress and Health Study, multiple jobholders in 2019 were less likely to report longer work hours in secondary employment. Analyses also revealed that having financial difficulties is consistently associated with multiple jobholding in 2011 and 2019. Collectively, these findings suggest that while the spread of short-term work arrangements has facilitated Canadians’ secondary employment decisions, for many workers these decisions may reflect underlying problems in the quality of primary employment in Canada, rather than labour market opportunity. I discuss the potential links between multiple jobholding, the gig economy and employment precariousness.
JEL Code: J21