The Occupational Classes: Not All Jobs are Created Equal – Conclusion

Too often, the creative and service occupational classes are misrepresented as being in opposition with each other. This series of snapshots has established that the classes are hardly homogenous, and emphasized that considering them as such obscures some very real/worthwhile differences both within, between, and among the classes.

This series has explored the dynamics and characteristics of each of the creative and service occupational classes in terms of: education, sex, benefits, workweek, self-employment, and multiple jobholders. Using Statistic Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), we learned that:

  • Education, defined as having a BA (or above), evenly splits the creative class (49.9% hold a BA or greater, and 50.1% do not). In contrast, only 14.8% of service workers who hold the BA or greater, while 85.5% do not. In both occupational classes, more education creates a double bonus — correlating with more hours and a higher wage.
  • Though the service class is dominated by women (63.2%), male service workers still out-earn female service workers (on average) by a considerable amount. In addition, males (on average) tend to out-earn women in the creative class as well. Our research demonstrates that men out-earn women (wage) and they work more hours (weekly) — a combination that stands to amplify this gap. In contrast, women work fewer hours, and they have a slightly lower wage.
  • In both occupational classes, workers who receive benefits make much more income than their peers who are not receiving benefits, and that more than half (52.4%) of the service class receives some form of benefit through their employer. As well, not all members of the creative class receive benefits either — 66.3% do, while 33.7% do not. Overall, receipt of benefits is a full-time thing, and benefits are under-experienced in the service class, because a high percentage of them are part-timers.
  • Members of the creative class tend to have a more traditional workweek (76.7%), whereas only 55.6% of service class members have a traditional workweek The labour market outcomes for self-employed creatives are better than the outcomes for self-employed service workers, and in both occupational classes, self-employed persons work more and earn less income than traditionally employed workers.
  • When looking at job transitions, we find that churn exists: 1 in 10 creatives and roughly 1 in 8 members of the service class changes jobs every year. About 20% of each occupational class is measured by the SLID as being a multiple jobholder. In each class, about 1,190 of these workers actually just hold multiple jobs over the course of the reference year, whereas 8.5% of creatives and service workers hold multiple jobs at the same time.

It is worth emphasizing that these trends are Canadian in nature, and that they are not over time (data from 2008). Additional research being undertaken at the Martin Prosperity Institute is longitudinal in nature, and explores the similarities and differences between the classes over time in terms of all of the previously listed characteristics.

Download this Insight (PDF)

The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management is the world’s leading think-tank on the role of sub-national factors—location, place and city-regions—in global economic prosperity. We take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.