SOC341H5 Chapter Notes -Labor Market Segmentation, Tracey Adams, Market Segmentation
Labour market and Employment trends by Tracey Adams and Sandy Welsh
Without labour market statistics to guide us, we would not be able to understand how
experiences may be changing and where we need to focus our attention
A labour market is where employers and employees come together, where workers get
distributed into jobs and industries
The labour market you have access to determine how much you will earn, how many
hours you will work, and the quality of your working life
Labour market segmentation theory focuses on how labour markets are “segmented” or
separated into sections containing different kinds of jobs
Jobs are divided according to their location in the “core” or “periphery” of the economy
Core industries tend to be capital intensive, large, and unionized, and they can exert
control over their environment
The periphery is characterized by lower tier service industries and jobs in highly
Primary labour market jobs are modelled on the notion of a “lifetime” job that guarantees
workers a high level of job security, annual wage increases, and opportunities of
Secondary labour market jobs do not offer much security or upward mobility and are
therefore sometimes called dead end jobs.
Labour market chances are also affected by membership in unions and professional
associations, also known as labour market shelters, which limit entry into jobs and protect
One outcome of labour market segmentation is the creation of labour market ghettos,
which trap certain groups of workers in some of the worst jobs in the labour market or
within occupational categories.
Sex and racial segregation occupations can lead to job ghettos that can trap women and
workers of colour.
All market economies go through regular periods of expansion and contraction
Goods-producing industries, as defined by Statistics Canada, include natural resources,
manufacturing, construction, and agricultural; service industries include retail and
wholesale trade, health care, public administration, education, business services,
information, culture, and recreation.
Deindustrialization refers to the decline of the industrial and goods producing sector in
Canada and the US beginning in the 1970s and the subsequent rise of the service sector.
In 2005, the manufacturing sector was the second largest employer in Canada.
Sociologists are concerned about the decline of manufacturing jobs, which have long
represented good jobs in terms of wages, benefits, and security, and thus the best
opportunities for young workers, especially young men, with high school education or
Marx saw private employment relationships under capitalism as particularly exploitative
by implication, employment in the public sector, and especially self employment, may be
less alienating and more fulfilling
A majority of public sector workers are women, while men make up the majority of
private sector and self employment workers
Those with higher levels of education have higher employment rates
The change to a service economy and the emphasis on part time work is also linked to
women’s rising employment.
At the same time, the rising educational levels of women and the declining birth rate
made it possible for more women to consider working outside the home and increased
their ability to obtain well paying jobs and make longer term commitments to the labour
Employment rate of immigrants are related to the number of years lived in Canada, with
those here loner having higher rates than recent arrivals.
“Visible Minority” immigrants have experienced the largest decline in their employment
rate since the 1980s.
Systemic barriers such as the discounting of immigrants’ credentials also play a role in
the deterioration of employment rates for immigrants of colour
Aboriginal workers had a lower employment rate than all other workers in 2001.
Low levels of education definitely affect aboriginal’s employment
Employment is also related to where Aboriginal people live
Cyclical unemployment is due to layoffs and cutbacks during periods of economic
downturns or recessions
Structural unemployment is less affected by the economic cycle and refers to
employment shortages that persist even in good economic times
Workers of colour, including immigrants, and Aboriginal workers have higher
unemployment rates than other workers
Those with less education were more at risk for unemployment
The Canadian unemployment rate is often compared to the US rate to get a sense of the
relative strength and health of the Canadian labour market
The experience of unemployment is demoralizing for many, as they struggle to fill
unstructured time and deal with the threat of poverty
When men and women have identical levels of education, women tend to earn less
money, suggesting that they are less likely to hold good jobs
The higher the level of education, the lower the gap in earning between Canadian men
Some of this gap is due to women being more likely than men to work part time, and
women and men tending to specialize in different subjects.
“Visible Minority” Canadians who had completed college and university earned
significantly less than white Canadians with the same level of education
Overall studies indicate that returns to education vary by the ethnicity and race, with
those from dominant ethnic backgrounds typically having more success in using their
education to get a good job