Article

Have Workers Really Flown the Coop?

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Abstract

Abstract: Whilst workplace mobility (i.e. working from a variety of locations) has become an area of study in its own right, and has increasingly gained media attention, little is know about how prevalent or novel it is. In this paper we use census place-of-work data to obtain insights into the prevalence and growth of this phenomenon in Canada's ten largest CMAs. These data do not capture all dimensions of workplace mobility, but are the best currently available to assess it population-wide. We show that workplace mobility has increased modestly since 1996, and that it is particularly prevalent in sectors such as construction and amongst less qualified workers. Knowledge workers, to the extent they are mobile, tend to work from home. These results do not capture fine-grained mobility within the working day (which may indeed be increasing), but demonstrate that these finer grained mobilities have not fundamentally impacted the types of workplace that jobs are attached to. THIS IS THE FINAL AUTHORS' VERSION

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Construction is an important employer in all developed countries, which bolsters the local and global economy. The construction industry is responsible for creating structure that improve productivity and quality of life not only in Canada but also in other developed and developing countries. Although considerable research exists on important facets of the industry (including education, skills and training; precarious work; migration and labour mobility; gender, working-time and work-life balance), few studies look at how the labour force has changed over time. In this paper we model the factors that predict participation in the Canadian construction industry in 1986 and 2016, and document the changes between these two points in time. We find broad similarities between the sociodemographic characteristics of workers in 1986 and 2016, and large changes in the source regions of these workers. We also find different geographical mobility patterns between 1986 and 2016, and discuss the implications of these changes for both the industry itself, and the workers and families that derive their livelihoods from construction work.
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Number of Workers Percentage of Workers Changes Between Years (Number) Changes Between Years (Percentage)
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Yuan, Y., Archer, N., Connelly, C., & Zheng, W. (2010). Identifying the ideal fit between mobile work and mobile work support. Information & Management, 47(3), 125-137. doi:10.1016/j.im.2009.12.004 Number of Workers Percentage of Workers Changes Between Years (Number) Changes Between Years (Percentage) 1996 2006 2016 1996 2006 2016 1996-2006 2006-2016 1996-2016 1996-2006 2006-2016 1996-2016 WAH 464,120 638,405 769,165 5.95% 6.61% 7.06% 174,285 130,760 305,045 37.55% 20.48% 65.73% WOC 47,560 68,625 85,615 0.61% 0.71% 0.79% 21,065 16,990 38,055 44.29% 24.76% 80.01% NFPOW 591,160 988,370 1,288,635 7.58% 10.23% 11.82% 397,210 300,265 697,475 67.19% 30.38% 117.98%