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A statistical study by the Public Service Commission of Canada

October 2008

Public Service Commission of Canada
300 Laurier AvenueWest
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0M7
Canada

Information: 613-992-9562
Facsimile: 613-992-9352

This paper is also available on our Web site.

Cat. No. SC3-136/2008
ISBN 978-0-662-05942-4

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Public Service Commission of Canada, 2008

Table of Contents

Highlights

Students are an important source of recruitment for the federal public service. Three student employment programs – the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP), the Co-operative Education and Internship Program (CO-OP) and the Research Affiliate Program (RAP) – provide students with valuable work experience. Given the investment made in students, there is consid­erable interest in employing them following their graduation.

Students hired under student employment programs between April 1997 and March 2005 were followed through to March 2008 to determine what proportion of them were subsequently appointed under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). A descriptive analysis of these appointments is provided based on other significant variables, such as region and organization. The main findings of the study are as follows:

  • Twenty-three percent of the 52 901 periods of student employment identified in the study ended with an appointment to a specified-period (term) or an indeterminate (permanent) position. A majority of students (74%) were appointed to an indeterminate position, either directly or following employment as a term employee.
  • The majority (73%) of first appointments under the PSEA occurred within one year from the end of the student employment.
  • Most (70%) appointments under the PSEA were to the same organization that initially hired the student.
  • First appointment under the PSEA was most often to the Administrative and Foreign Service (41%) and Administrative Support (25%) categories.
  • Subsequent appointment of students under the PSEA was more likely in the National Capital Region (NCR) [32%] than in the regions outside the NCR (16%).
  • A difference between language groups was observed in the NCR. Among the students with English as first official language, 28% were appointed under the PSEA; the rate was 40% for students whose first official language was French.
  • Overall, 14% of students experienced a period of casual employment subsequent to being hired as a student. Among those who were subsequently appointed under the PSEA (23%), the proportion who experienced a period of casual employment subsequent to being hired as a student was considerably higher (37%).
  • The percentage of total term and indeterminate recruitment represented by former students was up over the start of the study period, from 7% in 1999-2000 to 9% in 2004-2005.

Introduction

The role of the Public Service Commission of Canada in staffing

The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) is an independent agency reporting to Parliament, mandated to safeguard the integrity of the public service staffing system and the political neutrality of the public service. In addition, the PSC recruits qualified Canadians from across the country. The PSC develops policies to ensure that appointments respect both the core appointment values of merit and non-partisanship and the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness. The PSC conducts audits, studies and investigations to confirm the effectiveness of, and to make improvements to, the staffing system.

Background

The PSC administers three student programs that offer temporary employment to students during their academic studies. These are the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP), the Co-operative Education and Internship Program (CO-OP) and the Research Affiliate Program (RAP).

FSWEP is the primary vehicle through which federal organizations recruit students for student jobs each year. FSWEP gives full-time secondary school, CEGEP, college, technical institute and university students the opportunity to learn about the federal government and to gain valuable experience while developing and improving their employability skills. In order to be considered, candidates must be secondary or post-secondary students with full-time status in an accredited institution and at least the minimum age to work in the province or territory in which the job exists. They must also be returning to full-time studies during the next academic term. Part-time students who are recognized by their academic institution as having a disability are also eligible to apply.

Students interested in FSWEP apply to the program through a computerized national inventory, in which they indicate their geographic areas of availability, location, educational level and field of study. Once they have registered, they can be considered for a wide variety of student positions in hiring organizations across Canada. The PSC refers candidates to organizations using an algorithm to search the FSWEP inventory and randomly generate a list of students who meet the search criteria. Organizations appoint the candidate(s) who best meet their needs from among those referred.

CO-OP within the public service provides post-secondary students with the relevant and practical work experience they need to fulfill the requirements of their academic program.

The PSC has the sole authority to approve co-operative educational programs from which managers in the public service of Canada may recruit students. To be approved, the programs must have work experience as a mandatory requirement for graduation. The PSC has approved nearly 2 500 university and college programs across Canada. An organization wishing to hire a CO-OP student informs the CO-OP co-ordinators of the academic institutions from which it is seeking potential participants; they, in turn, normally post a notice of a CO-OP job opportunity for students at their institution.

The RAP recruits post-secondary students who require experience in applied research as part of their academic studies. The RAP matches students with ongoing research projects in federal government facilities. Federal organizations post specific research positions on the RAP Web site year round. To be considered, the applicants must be students as defined in the Treasury Board of Canada Student Employment Policy. The RAP started out as part of FSWEP and became a separate student employment program in January 2005. Consequently, no separate analysis was performed for RAP participants.

Although the focus has been on providing students with much-needed work experience, students have long been recognized as valuable potential recruits with the advantage of prior experience in the public service. In 1998, a mechanism was introduced to facilitate the appointment under the PSEA of former students. "Student bridging" allows organizations to hire former students, provided that they are qualified and have completed their program of study within a defined eligibility period. The eligibility period was 12 months for the period under study. Data on the use of student bridging are not captured in the PSC central data holdings.

About the study

Objective

The objective of the study is to determine what proportion of former students became employed under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) and to describe other significant trends about these appointments.

Data source

The data for the study were taken from the Public Service Commission's Job-based Analytical Information System (JAIS). All information held in JAIS is based on data extracted from the Incumbent file, which is a snapshot of the broader public service pay system managed by Public Works and Government Services Canada. The core of the JAIS data is made up of infor­mation on the substantive positions held by employees between April 1990 and the present.

The analysis is based on 51 971 students employed between April 1997 and March 2005. Subsequent employment for these students was followed through to March 2008. Only organi­zations currently subject to the PSEA are included.

Approach

The focus of the study is on subsequent employment under the PSEA (i.e. specified-period [term] and indeterminate [permanent] appointments). Employment as a student may be followed by periods of employment as a casual worker, a term employee, an employee in an organization not covered by the PSEA, an indeterminate employee or any combination thereof.

In order to organize the sequence of staffing events, the concept of an "employment spell" is defined. Student employment spells start with an initial student hire and end if there is no subse­quent employment for more than three years or if an appointment is made to a term or to an indeterminate position. The three-year allowance for a break in service reflects the fact that CO-OP and FSWEP participants are employed while registered as full-time students. Therefore, subsequent employment under the PSEA may be preceded by a lengthy break in service. Employment occurring after a break in service of more than three years is not considered related to the initial student appointment. In total, there were 52 901 employment spells identified for the 51 971 students in the study.

Employment spells are categorized as follows:

  • no subsequent appointment under the PSEA;
  • student to term;
  • student to indeterminate; and
  • student to term to indeterminate.

If a student changed programs in subsequent work terms from CO-OP to FSWEP or vice versa, the last program registration was assigned to the employment spell. However, the start date for the employment spell remains unchanged and corresponds to the date of the first student hire. Seven percent of the student employment spells identified for the study involved a change of program.

In the federal public service, occupations and positions are described in broad terms by the occupational classification standards. For student employment under the CO-OP and FSWEP programs, there is no requirement that the jobs reflect standard occupational group and classifi­cation levels. Therefore, details regarding the nature of the work performed by the student during their CO-OP or FSWEP work term are unavailable.

Employment equity data, other than for women, are not collected in a consistent manner from participants in the CO-OP and FSWEP programs. Therefore, analysis by employment equity designated groups is not possible.

CO-OP and FSWEP hiring trends

The CO-OP and FSWEP employment programs averaged 10 000 hires a year over the 1997-1998 to 2004-2005 period. One third of the hires were to CO-OP; two thirds to FSWEP. As shown in Figure 1, CO-OP and FSWEP employment levels were stable over the study period. Starting in 2005-2006, the number of student hires increased, particularly for FSWEP.

Student hiring has a strong seasonal pattern. Students are hired between January and June: 29% of CO-OP appointments started in January and 34% in May, while 71% of FSWEP appointments occurred between April and June.

Figure 1: Student hires 1997-1998 through 2007-2008

Figure 1

Figure 1 long description

Source: Job-based Analytical Information System (JAIS)

Note: Research Affiliate Program (RAP) participants are included in FSWEP counts.

The ratio of student hires to the size of the indeterminate workforce is an indication of the extent to which organizations use the student employment programs. Total CO-OP and FSWEP hires relative to the indeterminate population at fiscal year end declined slightly from 2001-2002 through 2004-2005 but otherwise were at or near the 8% level. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2: Student hires relative to the indeterminate workforce – 1997-1998 through 2007-2008

Figure 2

Figure 2 long description

Source: JAIS PSC population files

Main employers

Ten organizations accounted for 72% of student hires over the study period: Human Resources and Social Development Canada had the largest share of student hires (22%), followed by National Defence (9%); Public Works and Government Services Canada (8%); Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (7%); Fisheries and Oceans Canada (6%); Environment Canada (5%); Natural Resources Canada (5%); Industry Canada (4%); Health Canada (3%); and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (3%).

Figure 3 shows the distribution of CO-OP and FSWEP hires for these main employers. Environment Canada and Health Canada hired more CO-OP than FSWEP students, at 63% and 56%, respectively. The FSWEP share was greater at Human Resources and Social Development Canada (85%); Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (81%); Fisheries and Oceans Canada (72%); National Defence (71%); Citizenship and Immigration Canada (68%); Public Works and Government Services Canada (58%); Natural Resources Canada (56%); and Industry Canada (52%).

Figure 3: Main employers – Distribution of student hires by employment program – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005

Figure 3

Figure 3 long description

Source: JAIS

The ratio of student hires to the size of the indeterminate workforce for the main employers is shown in Figure 4 below. Student hires over the study period averaged 16% of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's indeterminate workforce. Next was Natural Resources Canada (15%) and Environment Canada (12%); the proportions for the other main employers were 10% or less.

Figure 4: Main employers – CO-OP and FSWEP hires relative to the indeterminate workforce – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005

Figure 4

Figure 4 long description

Source: JAIS PSC population files

Regions

Overall, 41% of the student hiring activity occurred in the National Capital Region (NCR). This proportion is similar to the proportion of the public service employee population employed in the NCR.1 Student hiring in the regions outside the NCR was distributed as follows: 13% in the Quebec region not including the NCR; 13% in Ontario not including the NCR; 12% in the Atlantic region; 7% in British Columbia and Yukon; 7% in Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut; and 7% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Within the NCR, 53% of student hires were FSWEP participants. In the regions, hires under FSWEP represented 74% or more of the student hires in each year of the study.

CO-OP and FSWEP participants in the NCR worked an average of 111 calendar days. Outside the NCR, the average duration of CO-OP employment was 117 calendar days, and 108 calendar days for FSWEP employment.

Age, gender and first official language

The median age for both CO-OP and FSWEP participants was 21 years. Women accounted for 55% of hires overall, although their share of hires grew from 54% in 1997-1998 to 58% in 2004-2005. By program, women generally represented a smaller percentage (47%) of CO-OP participants and a larger share (59%) of FSWEP participants. The first official language was English for 72% of the student hires over the period.

Duration of student employment

There was no difference by program in the duration of student employment: CO OP students worked an average of 111 calendar days and FSWEP students worked an average of 110 calendar days. Among the main employers, the CO-OP students at Environment Canada worked longer, averaging 117 calendar days; FSWEP students at National Defence worked an average of 90 calendar days, whereas, at Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the duration was 117 calendar days.

One third of students had more than one CO-OP or FSWEP assignment.

Study findings

Twenty-three percent of students were subsequently employed under the Public Service Employment Act

As of March 2008, 11 887 (23%) of all students had been appointed under the PSEA as either term or indeterminate employees. Students in CO-OP and FSWEP were appointed under the PSEA in similar proportions: CO-OP (21%) and FSWEP (23%). Figure 5 below gives the subse­quent appointment rate by starting year of CO-OP or FSWEP employment. The proportion subsequently appointed under the PSEA appears stable over the period.

Figure 5: Subsequent appointment under the PSEA by starting year of student employment – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005, as of March 2008

Figure 5

Figure 5 long description

Source: JAIS

As shown in Figure 6 below, there were 3 080 (6%) student-to-term transitions; 3 982 (8%) student-to-indeterminate transitions; and 4 825 (9%) students appointed to an indeterminate position following employment as a term. Seventy seven percent of students were not appointed under the PSEA.

Figure 6: Subsequent appointment under the PSEA – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005, as of March 2008

Figure 6

Figure 6 long description

Source: JAIS

Students were increasingly being appointed directly to indeterminate positions

Appointment to an indeterminate position, either directly or following employment as a term, was observed for a majority (74%) of the 11 887 students with appointment under the PSEA. For slightly more than half (55%) of these students, indeterminate employment followed a period of term employment. For the remainder (45%), their first appointment under the PSEA was to an indeterminate position.

An increasing proportion of first appointments under the PSEA are to indeterminate positions. Sixteen percent of employment spells starting in 1997-1998 were of the student-to-indeterminate type; by 2004-2005, the proportion was 52%.

Figure 7: First appointment under the PSEA – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005, as of March 2008

Figure 7

Figure 7 long description

Source: JAIS

Appointment under the Public Service Employment Act was more likely for students in medium and small organizations

The number and percentage of students appointed under the PSEA for all organizations appear in Appendix 5. Appointments under the PSEA to the same organization represented 16% of all 52 901 employment spells; another 7% of students were appointed under the PSEA to a different organization.

The large organizations2 in the study represent 90% of all observations and account for the overall trends. On average, 22% of the students in large organizations were later appointed under the PSEA; 16% to the same organization that hired them; and another 6% to other organizations.

As shown in Table 1 below, a significantly higher proportion of students in medium and small organizations go on to employment under the PSEA: for medium organizations, 29% of students were appointed (16% to the same organization and 13% to another); in small organizations, 37% of students were appointed (22% to the same organization and 15% to another).

Table 1: First appointment under the PSEA by organization size, as of March 2008
Organization size Appointed under PSEA to original organization Appointed under PSEA to another organization Total appointments under the PSEA
N % N % N %
Large 7 385 16 2 908 6 10 293 22
Medium 739 16 604 13 1 343 29
Small 148 22 103 15 251 37
Total appointments under the PSEA 8 272 16 3 615 7 11 887 23

Source: JAIS

Casual employment was observed in more than one third of employment spells with appointment under the Public Service Employment Act3

Overall, 14% of students experienced a period of casual employment subsequent to being hired as a student. Among those who were subsequently appointed under the PSEA (23%) the proportion who experienced a period of casual employment subsequent to being hired as a student is considerably higher (37%).

Employment as a casual worker prior to appointment under the PSEA was slightly higher among CO-OP participants (41%) than for FSWEP participants (35%). The proportion of spells ending in appointment under the PSEA that included a period of casual employment increased over the study period, from 30% for spells starting in 1997-1998 to 45% by 2004-2005.

Typically, casual employment occurred immediately prior to the first appointment under the PSEA. No break in service was observed for two thirds (67%) of these appointments.

The largest proportion of appointments under the Public Service Employment Act was to the Administrative and Foreign Service category

First appointment under the PSEA occurred most often in the Administrative and Foreign Service (41%) and the Administrative Support (25%) categories. The percentage for the other categories ranged from 7% to 15%. (See Figure 8.)

The distribution differed slightly by program. The greatest share of first appointments under the PSEA was in the Administrative and Foreign Service category for both CO-OP (51%) and FSWEP (37%) participants. For CO-OP students, the Scientific and Professional category was next, with 20% of appointments. Twenty-nine percent of FSWEP students moved on to the Administrative Support category.

Figure 8: Occupational category of first appointment under the PSEA by student employment program – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005, as of March 2008

Figure 8

Figure 8 long description

Source: JAIS

Note: Unassigned category not shown (53 observations).

Over the study period, the proportion of first appointments under the PSEA in the Administrative and Foreign Service category increased from 37% to 47%; first appointments to the Administrative Support category moved in the opposite direction, from 29% in 1997-1998 to 19% by 2004-2005. (See Figure 9.)

Figure 9: Occupational category of first appointment under the PSEA – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005, as of March 2008

Figure 9

Figure 9 long description

Source: JAIS

The following sections discuss selected groups within the occupational categories. The groups discussed below had a minimum of 100 or more appointments. Appendix 4 provides the distribution for all groups.

Selected groups – Administrative and Foreign Service category

The 4 894 appointments to the Administrative and Foreign Service category accounted for 41% of all subsequent appointments of students under the PSEA. The distribution is given in Table 2: 19% student to term, 39% student to indeterminate and 42% student to term to indeterminate. Three groups – Computer Systems Administration (CS), Program Administration (PM) and Administrative Services (AS) – represented 70% of the appointments for the category.

Appointment to an indeterminate position, either directly or following employment as a term, was 81% for the Administrative and Foreign Service category. Groups within this category with a higher proportion than this were Financial Administration (FI – 94%), Personnel Administration (PE – 91%) and Commerce (CO – 83%).

Some 41% of employment spells in the Administrative and Foreign Service category included casual appointment, which is slightly higher than the overall average (37%). The proportion with casual appointment was higher than 41% for the following five groups: Information Services (IS – 52%); Administrative Services (AS – 49%); Financial Administration (FI – 45%);  Program Administration (PM – 43%); and Personnel Administration (PE – 43%).

Table 2: First appointment under the PSEA to the Administrative and Foreign Service category, as of March 2008
First appointment
under the
PSEA – group
Student
to term
Student to
indeterminate
Student to term
to indeterminate
Total Percentage of total
appointments
under the PSEA
N % N % N % N
Administrative
Services (AS)
188 23 332 41 299 37 819 7
Commerce (CO) 35 16 101 45 89 40 225 2
Computer Systems
Administration (CS)
304 21 354 24 809 55 1 467 12
Financial
Administration (FI)
17 6 202 68 77 26 296 2
Information
Services (IS)
92 22 152 37 167 41 411 3
Personnel
Administration (PE)
15 9 119 68 41 23 175 1
Program
Administration (PM)
249 22 393 34 516 45 1 158 10
Translation (TR) 1 1 128 93 8 6 137 1
Other groups in the
Administrative and
Foreign Service category
27 13 144 70 35 17 206 2
All Administrative and
Foreign Service
928 19 1 925 39 2 041 42 4 894 41

Source: JAIS

Selected groups – Scientific and Professional category

The 1 735 appointments to the Scientific and Professional category accounted for 15% of appoint­ments under the PSEA. The distribution is given in Table 3: 18% student to term; 47% student to indeterminate; and 35% student to term to indeterminate. Four groups represent a majority (77%) of the 1 735 appointments to the category: Biological Sciences (BI), Economics, Sociology and Statistics (ES), Engineering and Land Surveying (EN) and Physical Sciences (PC).

The proportion of appointments to an indeterminate position, either directly or following employment as a term, was 82% for the Scientific and Professional category. This result is influenced by the characteristics of the ES group, which accounted for almost half (45%) of the observations for the category. Of the 776 students appointed to the ES group, 91% were appointed to an indeterminate position.

At 38%, the proportion of appointments to the Scientific and Professional category that were preceded by casual employment is similar to the overall average (37%). Groups in this category exceeding this average are Physical Sciences (48%), Biological Sciences (43%) and Economics, Sociology and Statistics (41%).

As illustrated in Figure 9, at the start of the study period, the Scientific and Professional category accounted for 14% of subsequent appointments under the PSEA. By fiscal year 2004-2005, the proportion was 18%.

Table 3: First appointment under the PSEA to the Scientific and Professional category, as of March 2008
First appointment
under the
PSEA – group
Student
to term
Student to
indeterminate
Student to term
to indeterminate
Total Percentage of total
appointments
under the PSEA
N % N % N % N
Biological Sciences (BI) 29 26 38 35 43 39 110 1
Economics, Sociology and Statistics (ES) 69 9 489 63 218 28 776 7
Engineering and Land Surveying (EN) 50 27 68 36 70 37 188 2
Physical Sciences (PC) 91 35 57 22 109 42 257 2
Other groups in the Scientific and Professional category 69 17 168 42 167 41 404 3
All Scientific and Professional 308 18 820 47 607 35 1 735 15

Source: JAIS

Selected groups – Administrative Support category

The 2 928 appointments to the Administrative Support category represented 25% of all appoint­ments under the PSEA. They were distributed as follows: 40% student to term; 12% student to indeterminate; and 48% student to term to indeterminate. The 2 821 appointments to the CR group accounted for 96% of the appointments to the category and 24% of all appointments under the PSEA.

Thirty-eight percent of appointments under the PSEA were preceded by casual employment, which is close to the overall average (37%). The Administrative Support category had the lowest proportion of students appointed to an indeterminate position (60%).

The term-to-indeterminate transition for the 1 412 student-to-term-to-indeterminate spells involved a change of category in 43% of the observations. Most (36%) were to the Administrative and Foreign Service category, with the balance split between the Technical (4%) and Scientific and Professional (3%) categories.

Selected groups – Other categories

Engineering and Scientific Support (EG), General Technical (GT) and Social Science Support (SI) groups represented 87% of the 1 422 appointments to the Technical category. There was an even distribution by spell type: student to term, 32%; student to indeterminate, 32%; and student to term to indeterminate, 36%. Casual appointment was observed prior to appointment under the PSEA in 36% of cases, close to the overall average (37%).

The term-to-indeterminate transition for the 512 student-to-term-to-indeterminate spells involved a change of category in 28% of the observations. Almost all of these second transitions were to the Administrative and Foreign Service and Scientific and Professional categories.

At the start of the study period, the Technical category accounted for 13% of the appointments under the PSEA. By 2004-2005, the proportion was 9%.

Two groups, Correction (CX) and General Labour and Trades (GL), represented 88% of the appoint­ments to the Operational category. Almost all of the students appointed to the CX group (98%) were appointed to an indeterminate position; the proportion for the General Labour group was 22%. Relatively few appointments in this category (15%) involved a prior casual appointment.

Greater occurrence of appointment under the Public Service Employment Act existed in the National Capital Region

Overall, 40% of employment spells occurred in the National Capital Region (NCR). This figure is consistent with the distribution of the public service workforce (indeterminate, term, casual and student employees) in the NCR, which averaged 40% over the study period. However, a student working in the NCR was more likely to be appointed under the PSEA: 32% of the students in the NCR were appointed under the PSEA, compared with 16% in the regions (Figure 10).

Subsequent appointment of students by geographic area (province/territory) is provided in Appendix 6. Proportions for appointment under the PSEA outside the NCR ranged from 12% (Northwest Territories, Nunavut) to 25% (Alberta). Generally, students remained in the region in which they were first employed; a change of region occurred for 5% of the appointments.

The youngest students, those under 20 years of age at the start of their CO-OP or FSWEP employment, represented 20% of the observations. Overall, 14% of these students were appointed under the PSEA. In the NCR, students in this age bracket were appointed at a rate of 24%; in the regions, the rate was 9%.

Figure 10: Subsequent hire under the PSEA by region of first student hire, as of March 2008

Figure 10

Figure 10 long description

Source: JAIS

First official language and gender differences were observed in the National Capital Region

The breakdown by first official language for students over the study period was 74% English and 26% French. Their subsequent rate of appointment under the PSEA was 21% and 27%, respectively.

As shown in Figure 11, the difference in the subsequent employment rate between language groups was greater within the National Capital Region (NCR) than in the other regions. Specifically, in the NCR, 28% of students whose first official language was English were appointed under the PSEA; the rate was 40% for students whose first official language was French. Outside the NCR, the corresponding proportions were 17% and 15%, respectively.

Figure 11: Subsequent appointment under the PSEA – Region and first official language group (FOL), as of March 2008

Figure 11

Figure 11 long description

Source: JAIS

Note: First official language unknown for 583 observations

Students in the NCR were fairly evenly divided by gender (men, 48%; women, 52%). Subsequent appointment in the NCR was significantly higher for women (35%) than for men (28%). Women in the NCR with English as a first official language had an appointment rate of 32%; where French was the first official language, the appointment rate was 44%. For men in the NCR, the corresponding rate of appointment by official language was 24% (English) and 36% (French).

Outside the NCR, the representation of women was slightly higher (56%) but there was little difference by gender for appointment under the PSEA (women, 16%; men, 17%).

Most first appointments under the Public Service Employment Act occurred within one year of the end of the student employment

Since participants in CO-OP and FSWEP are full-time students, it is expected that it will be some time before a subsequent appointment is made under the PSEA. Following their CO-OP or FSWEP work terms, students may return to school; they may be hired as casual workers or work in a federal organization not covered by the PSEA; they may work in the private sector or simply take time off. The estimates of the elapsed time prior to the first appointment under the PSEA are based on the interval between the end of the CO-OP or FSWEP employment and the start of the first appointment under the PSEA.

A majority (73%) of students appointed under the PSEA were appointed within one year of the end of their student employment. Almost one quarter (24%) of the appointments under the PSEA were effective immediately following the student employment.

On average, the elapsed time before appointment under the PSEA was 280 days (median 150 days). A first appointment under the PSEA for FSWEP participants occurred on average 269 days (median 129 days) following the end of the student employment; CO-OP participants took longer, with an average of 303 days (median 198 days).

For the 4 825 students appointed to an indeterminate position following term employment, the indeterminate appointment occurred, on average, 652 calendar days (median 538 days) after the start of the term employment.

Former students made up an increasing proportion of recruits

The contribution of the student employment programs to overall recruitment was estimated as the proportion of students subsequently appointed under the PSEA to the total term and indeterminate recruitment.4 Results for the period 1999-2000 through 2004-2005 are shown in Appendix 7. The organizations listed in Appendix 7 accounted for 90% of the CO-OP and FSWEP hires over the study period.

Generally, the percentage of recruitment represented by former students was up over the start of the period, from 7% in 1999-2000 to 9% in 2004-2005. For Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Natural Resources Canada, the results were mixed; these three organizations had lower percentages at the end of the period.

Concluding remarks

The study looked at student hires between April 1997 and March 2005 and found that, on average, 23% of students were subsequently appointed under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). Although a majority of first appointments under the PSEA were to term positions, most students eventually moved into permanent positions. There was greater opportunity for appointment under the PSEA in the National Capital Region, particularly for individuals with French as a first official language. The greatest share of first appointments under the PSEA was in the Administrative and Foreign Service category, a share that increased over the study period.

The time frame over which students were identified for the study preceded the coming into force of the current PSEA on December 31, 2005. However, a number of the subsequent appointments were made under the current PSEA. In the three years following the study period, there was a significant increase in the number of participants in the student employment programs.

The information provided in this study is of interest to the human resources community in general and, more specifically, to those involved in policy development and human resources planning. In particular, the study results establish benchmarks that should assist organizations in the development of recruitment strategies.

Study team

Vice-President, Audit and Data Services Branch:

Mary Clennett

Director General, Appointment Information and Analysis Directorate:

Jean-François Tardif

Acting Manager:

Haldun Sarlan

Analyst:

Elizabeth O'Driscoll

Appendices

Appendix 1: Glossary

Casual employment (Emploi temporaire) – PSEA as of December 31, 2005
A short-term employment option to hire someone. Under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), a casual worker cannot work more than 90 working days in one calendar year in a given organization, with the exception of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, where, in certain circumstances, the maximum period is 165 working days in one calendar year. The provisions of the PSEA, such as the merit requirement, do not apply to casual workers.
Casual employment (Emploi temporaire) – PSEA prior to December 31, 2005
A short-term employment option to hire persons to the public service for a period not exceeding 90 calendar days at one time, nor for more than 125 working days within any 12-month period in any one organizations. None of the provisions of the PSEA, other than those authorizing the making of such appointments, applies to these hires.
Fiscal year (Exercice financier)
April 1 to March 31, for the federal public service.
Indeterminate (permanent) employment (Emploi pour une période indéterminée – emploi permanent)
Employment of no fixed duration, whether part-time, full-time or seasonal.
Mean (Moyenne)
The most common measure of central tendency: the arithmetic average of a set of numbers.
Median (Médiane)
The value found in the middle of a group of values that have been ranked from lowest to highest.
Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) (Loi sur l'emploi dans la fonction publique [LEFP])
The organizations subject to the PSEA are defined in Schedules I, IV and V of the Financial Administration Act. The organizations in Schedules I and IV are, with some exceptions, subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission (PSC) for their appointments. The organizations listed in Schedule V are separate agencies. Certain organizations in Schedule V are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the PSC for their appointments.
Specified term employment (Emploi pour une durée déterminée)
Part-time or full-time employment of a fixed duration.
Student bridging program (Programme d'intégration des étudiants)
Introduced in 1998, this mechanism facilitates the hiring of CO-OP, FSWEP and RAP students into term or indeterminate positions in the federal public service after the completion of their studies. During the period under study, an organization could appoint, without competition from outside the public service, a former student who had completed a program of study within the last 12 months, regardless of the organization in which the student's last work term took place.
Student hires (Embauche des étudiants)
The process of appointing persons under the PSEA, from outside or within the public service, is referred to as an appointment. Student employment is excluded from the application of the PSEA and, consequently, participants in the student employment programs are referred to as "student hires."

Appendix 2: Categories and occupational groups

Categories and occupational groups
Category Groups
Executive Executive (EX, GX)
Scientific and Professional
  • Agriculture (AG)
  • Architecture and Town Planning (AR)
  • Auditing (AU)
  • Biological Sciences (BI)
  • Chemistry (CH)
  • Dentistry (DE)
  • Defence Scientific Service (DS)
  • Education (ED)
  • Engineering and Land Surveying (EN)
  • Economics, Sociology and Statistics (ES)
  • Forestry (FO)
  • Historical Research (HR)
  • Home Economics (HE)
  • Law (LA)
  • Library Science (LS)
  • Mathematics (MA)
  • Medicine (MD)
  • Meteorology (MT)
  • Nursing (NU)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (ND)
  • Occupational and Physical Therapy (OP)
  • Pharmacy (PH)
  • Physical Sciences (PC)
  • Psychology (PS)
  • Scientific Regulation (SG)
  • Scientific Research (SE)
  • SocialWork (SW)
  • University Teaching (UT)
  • Veterinary Medicine (VM)
Administrative and Foreign Service
  • Administrative Services (AS)
  • Commerce (CO)
  • Computer Systems Administration (CS)
  • Financial Administration (FI)
  • Foreign Service (FS)
  • Information Services (IS)
  • Leadership Programs (PL)
  • Management Trainee Program (MM)
  • Organization and Methods (OM)
  • Personnel Administration (PE)
  • Purchasing and Supply (PG)
  • Program Administration (PM)
  • Translation (TR)
  • Welfare Programs (WP)
Technical
  • Air Traffic Control (AI)
  • Aircraft Operations (AO)
  • Drafting and Illustration (DD)
  • Educational Support (EU)
  • Electronics (EL)
  • Engineering and Scientific Support (EG)
  • General Technical (GT)
  • Photography (PY)
  • Primary Products Inspection (PI)
  • Radio Operations (RO)
  • Ship's Officers (SO)
  • Social Science Support (SI)
  • Technical Inspection (TI)
Administrative Support
  • Clerical and Regulatory (CR)
  • Communications (CM)
  • Data Processing (DA)
  • Office Equipment Operation (OE)
  • Secretarial, Stenographic, Typing (ST)
Operational
  • Correction (CX)
  • Firefighters (FR)
  • General Labour and Trades (GL)
  • General Services (GS)
  • Heat, Power & Stationary Plant Ops. (HP)
  • Hospital Services (HS)
  • Lightkeepers (LI)
  • Printing Operations (PR)
  • Ship's Crews (SC)
  • Ship Repair (SR)
Unassigned
  • Indian Oil and Gas (AB)
  • National Energy Board (NB)
  • Regulatory Enforcement (RE)

Appendix 3: Organization size

Large organizations (more than 2 000 employees)

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (7 128)
  • Canada Border Services Agency (12 668)
  • Canadian Heritage (2 205)
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada (4 016)
  • Correctional Service Canada (14 909)
  • Department of Justice Canada (4 962)
  • Environment Canada (6 682)
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (10 363)
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (4 292)
  • Health Canada (9 185)
  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada (22 891)
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (4 133)
  • Industry Canada (5 481)
  • National Defence (public service employees) [23 771]
  • Natural Resources Canada (4 706)
  • Passport Canada (2 136)
  • Public Health Agency of Canada (2 037)
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada (12 486)
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (public service employees) [5 343]
  • Statistics Canada (5 902)
  • Transport Canada (5 021)
  • Veterans Affairs Canada (3 866)

Medium organizations (351 - 2 000 employees)

  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (748)
  • Canada Public Service Agency (592)
  • Canada School of Public Service (762)
  • Canadian Grain Commission (632)
  • Canadian International Development Agency (1 771)
  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (414)
  • Canadian Space Agency (643)
  • Courts Administration Service (615)
  • Department of Finance Canada (989)
  • Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec (439)
  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (866)
  • Library and Archives Canada (1 156)
  • Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (420)
  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (460)
  • Privy Council Office (777)
  • Public Safety Canada (810)
  • Public Service Commission of Canada (990)
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (961)
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada (403)

Small organizations (350 or fewer employees)

  • Canada Firearms Centre (309)
  • Canada Industrial Relations Board (92)
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (148)
  • Canadian Forces Grievance Board (41)
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission (196)
  • Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat (24)
  • Canadian International Trade Tribunal (73)
  • Canadian Transportation Agency (235)
  • Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (37)
  • Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission Canada (32)
  • Human Rights Tribunal (22)
  • Indian Oil and Gas Canada (67)
  • Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada (279)
  • Infrastructure Canada (171)
  • International Joint Commission (Canadian Section) (32)
  • Law Commission of Canada (12)
  • Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (11)
  • Millennium Bureau of Canada (29)
  • NAFTA Secretariat – Canadian Section (10)
  • National Energy Board (298)
  • National Farm Products Council (10)
  • National Parole Board (343)
  • Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs (63)
  • Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (150)
  • Office of the Governor General's Secretary (165)
  • Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada (150)
  • Patented Medicine Prices Review Board Canada (44)
  • Public Service Staff Relations Board (60)
  • Status of Women Canada (123)
  • Supreme Court of Canada (Office of the Registrar) (199)
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada (220)

Appendix 4: First appointment under the PSEA 1997-1998 through 2004-2005 – groups5

First appointment under the PSEA
First appointment under the PSEA – group Student
to term
Student to
indeterminate
Student to term
to indeterminate
Total
Total % Total % Total %
Administrative Services (AS) 188 23 332 41 299 37 819
Biological Sciences (BI) 29 26 38 35 43 39 110
Chemistry (CH) 9 27 13 39 11 33 33
Clerical and Regulatory (CR) 1 123 40 343 12 1 355 48 2 821
Commerce (CO) 35 16 101 45 89 40 225
Computer Systems Administration (CS) 304 21 354 24 809 55 1 467
Correction (CX) 10 2 387 71 149 27 546
Drafting and Illustration (DD) 10 36 7 25 11 39 28
Economics, Sociology and Statistics (ES) 69 9 489 63 218 28 776
Electronics (EL) 9 16 25 43 24 41 58
Engineering and Land Surveying (EN) 50 27 68 36 70 37 188
Engineering and Scientific Support (EG) 272 51 73 14 191 36 536
Financial Administration (FI) 17 6 202 68 77 26 296
General Labour and Trades (GL) 164 78 9 4 37 18 210
General Services (GS) 26 63 5 12 10 24 41
General Technical (GT) 34 12 167 59 81 29 282
Information Services (IS) 92 22 152 37 167 41 411
Law (LA) 21 23 2 2 70 75 93
Library Science (LS) 6 16 12 32 20 53 38
Management Trainee Program (MM) 0 0 32 100 0 0 32
Mathematics (MA) 0 0 24 89 3 11 27
Meteorology (MT) 0 0 25 96 1 4 26
Nursing (NU) 11 24 10 22 25 54 46
Personnel Administration (PE) 15 9 119 68 41 23 175
Physical Sciences (PC) 91 35 57 22 109 42 257
Program Administration (PM) 249 22 393 34 516 45 1 158
Purchasing and Supply (PG) 1 1 78 91 7 8 86
Radio Operations (RO) 2 3 69 90 6 8 77
Regulatory Enforcement (RE) 3 11 12 44 12 44 27
Scientific Regulation (SG) 5 6 66 84 8 10 79
Secretarial, Stenographic, Typing (ST) 27 31 12 14 47 55 86
Ship Repair (SR) 7 23 0 0 23 77 30
Social Science Support (SI) 120 29 105 25 193 46 418
Translation (TR) 1 1 128 93 8 6 137
Welfare Programs (WP) 23 40 15 26 19 33 57
Other groups with fewer than 25 observations 57 30 58 31 76 40 191
Public service 3 080 26 3 982 34 4 825 41 11 887

Appendix 5: Student employment and subsequent appointment under the PSEA – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005 – organizations6

Student employment and subsequent appointment under the PSEA – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005 – organizations
Organization at start
of student employment
Employment spells with
appointment under the PSEA
Employment spells with other
subsequent employment
No subsequent
appointment
Total
Appointed to
original
organization
Appointed to
another
organization
In original
organization
In another
organization
Total % Total % Total % Total % Total %
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 513 13 111 3 246 6 80 2 3 136 77 4 086
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 31 7 39 9 9 2 14 3 353 79 446
Canada Border Services Agency 41 50 1 1 2 2 2 2 36 44 82
Canada School of Public Service 11 18 17 28 4 7 2 3 26 43 60
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency 13 36 5 14 0 0 2 6 16 44 36
Canadian Heritage 97 7 118 8 16 1 394 27 861 58 1 486
Canadian Human Rights Commission 15 17 13 15 7 8 2 2 49 57 86
Canadian International  Development Agency 69 11 98 16 7 1 30 5 399 66 603
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission 19 19 19 19 4 4 7 7 50 51 99
Canadian Space Agency 48 6 27 4 0 0 16 2 671 88 762
Canadian Transportation Agency 33 47 9 13 1 1 3 4 24 34 70
Citizenship and Immigration Canada 316 23 151 11 45 3 49 4 845 60 1 406
Correctional Service Canada 687 45 54 4 68 4 22 1 705 46 1 536
Courts Administration Service 31 19 21 13 4 2 10 6 100 60 166
Department of Finance Canada 40 20 26 13 4 2 9 4 125 61 204
Department of Justice Canada 110 13 84 10 125 15 48 6 469 56 836
Economic Development Agency of Canada the Regions of Quebec for 33 21 19 12 7 4 5 3 97 60 161
Environment Canada 400 14 153 5 115 4 80 3 2190 75 2 938
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 576 19 135 5 186 6 102 3 1994 67 2 993
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada 148 23 74 12 7 1 28 4 377 60 634
Health Canada 372 20 160 9 90 5 68 4 1 203 64 1893
Human Resources and Social Development Canada 1 516 14 592 6 331 3 230 2 8 013 75 10 682
Immigration and Refugee Board 38 20 15 8 7 4 3 2 132 68 195
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada 241 22 87 8 51 5 36 3 706 63 1121
Industry Canada 354 17 198 9 31 1 81 4 1 481 69 2 145
Library and Archives Canada 73 22 43 13 4 1 29 9 179 55 328
National Defence (public service employees) 517 10 247 5 256 5 128 3 3 860 77 5 008
National Energy Board 18 26 0 0 1 1 1 1 50 71 70
Natural Resources Canada 263 9 155 5 131 4 98 3 2 368 79 3 015
Office of the Chief Electoral Officer 12 13 16 17 4 4 4 4 56 61 92
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages 6 17 9 26 3 9 1 3 16 46 35
Office of the Governor General's Secretary 7 15 10 21 1 2 2 4 27 57 47
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions 20 17 8 7 1 1 2 2 89 74 120
Passport Canada 24 35 5 7 3 4 2 3 35 51 69
Privy Council Office 69 28 41 17 19 8 14 6 101 41 244
Public Health Agency of Canada 13 29 1 2 1 2 2 4 28 62 45
Public Safety Canada 51 24 42 20 6 3 11 5 100 48 210
Public Service Commission of Canada 78 21 72 19 3 1 24 6 202 53 379
Public Works and Government Services Canada 564 16 284 8 131 4 106 3 2 384 69 3 469
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (public service employees) 61 9 30 5 97 15 21 3 437 68 646
Statistics Canada 304 25 126 11 56 5 50 4 667 55 1 203
Status of Women Canada 9 21 6 14 0 0 3 7 24 57 42
Supreme Court of Canada (Office of the Registrar) 11 26 11 26 0 0 1 2 20 47 43
Transport Canada 170 13 98 7 78 6 66 5 946 70 1358
Transportation Safety Board of Canada 7 20 5 14 0 0 3 9 20 57 35
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat 73 23 71 22 5 2 14 4 160 50 323
Veterans Affairs Canada 98 12 44 5 19 2 19 2 671 79 851
Western Economic Diversification Canada 34 11 26 9 4 1 13 4 222 74 299
Other organizations with fewer than 25 observations 38 16 39 16 9 4 14 6 144 59 244
Public service 8 272 16 3 615 7 2 199 4 1 951 4 36 864 70 52 901

Appendix 6: Student employment and subsequent appointment under the PSEA – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005 – geographic area

Student employment and subsequent appointment under the PSEA – 1997-1998 through 2004-2005 – geographic area
Region at start of student
employment spell
No subsequent
appointment under
the PSEA
Student
to term
Student to
indeterminate
Student
to term to
indeterminate
Total
Total % Total % Total % Total %
Newfoundland and Labrador 1 029 88 40 3 66 6 41 4 1 176
Prince Edward Island 762 85 36 4 39 4 65 7 902
Nova Scotia 1 913 85 98 4 113 5 116 5 2 240
New Brunswick 1 563 84 76 4 96 5 120 7 1 855
Quebec (except NCR) 5 822 86 318 5 208 3 422 6 6 770
National Capital Region (NCR) 14 347 68 1 378 7 2 446 12 2 823 13 20 994
Ontario (except NCR) 5 906 87 336 5 214 3 362 5 6818
Manitoba 1 593 80 139 7 90 5 179 9 2 001
Saskatchewan 1 308 81 200 12 35 2 76 5 1 619
Alberta 2 916 75 220 6 457 12 298 8 3 891
British Columbia 3 413 83 208 5 206 5 302 7 4 129
Yukon 150 86 14 8 3 2 8 5 175
Northwest Territories 239 88 15 6 6 2 11 4 271
Nunavut 53 88 2 3 3 5 2 3 60
Total 41 014 78 3 080 6 3 982 8 4 825 9 52 901

Appendix 7: Proportion of student employment spells with appointment under the PSEA to total term and indeterminate recruitment – 1999-2000 through 2004-2005 – organization

Proportion of student employment spells with appointment under the PSEA to total term and indeterminate recruitment – 1999-2000 through 2004-2005 – organization
Organization at start of
PSEA employment
Employment
spells with
appointment
Employment spells with subsequent appointment under the
PSEA as a percent of total term and indeterminate recruitment
under the PSEA
1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 375 5.4% 4.8% 5.7% 5.3% 6.4% 4.6%
Canadian Heritage 136 7.8% 11.1% 6.7% 9.6% 13.3% 12.2%
Canadian International Development Agency 74 4.9% 12.1% 5.5% 10.6% 17.5% 10.4%
Canadian Space Agency 49 10.3% 16.7% 12.7% 15.9% 10.7% 14.6%
Citizenship and Immigration Canada 339 10.7% 8.1% 12.0% 6.7% 8.8% 13.1%
Correctional Service Canada 598 9.9% 7.5% 8.5% 11.5% 3.8% 9.9%
Environment Canada 350 8.5% 7.9% 11.2% 11.8% 14.4% 17.7%
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 534 7.5% 10.5% 10.2% 10.0% 7.4% 6.0%
Health Canada 418 3.7% 4.3% 4.6% 5.7% 6.9% 9.1%
Human Resources and Social Development Canada 1 283 9.7% 7.7% 8.3% 12.4% 10.4% 12.8%
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada 249 8.7% 7.3% 7.2% 6.8% 10.8% 7.9%
Industry Canada 361 11.0% 9.0% 12.4% 10.9% 15.2% 14.9%
Justice Canada 162 4.7% 3.7% 4.1% 6.1% 5.9% 10.3%
National Defence (public service employees) 462 3.2% 3.1% 3.1% 4.0% 4.7% 4.6%
Natural Resources Canada 247 13.3% 11.1% 10.0% 8.5% 9.1% 11.8%
Public Works and Government Services Canada 556 6.6% 7.4% 8.1% 9.9% 12.5% 14.7%
Statistics Canada 324 9.7% 6.3% 6.5% 9.9% 11.7% 13.6%
Transport Canada 166 4.9% 5.1% 8.3% 8.4% 10.0% 8.3%
Veterans Affairs Canada 72 2.9% 3.4% 3.1% 2.0% 4.2% 3.7%
Other organizations 1 242 6.8% 6.3% 6.9% 7.4% 7.8% 9.2%
Public service 7 997 7.2% 6.6% 7.2% 8.0% 8.2% 9.4%

Foot Notes

1. The proportion of the public service population in the NCR averaged 40% over the study period. [Return]

2. A large organization employs more than 2 000 employees, a medium organization between 351 and 2 000 employees and a small organization 350 or fewer employees. A listing by organization is provided in Appendix 5. Note that several organizations (the Canada Border Services Agency, Public Safety Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada School of Public Service) were established toward the end of the study and follow-up period. [Return]

3. Periods of casual employment are ignored in classifying an employment spell, but periods of casual employment can be identified in the data. These additional data are used in this section. [Return]

4. Recruitment totals exclude term-to-indeterminate appointments. [Return]

5. Proportions shown in the figures may not add up to 100, due to rounding. [Return]

6. Proportions shown in the figures may not add up to 100, due to rounding. Note that several organizations (the Canada Border Services Agency, Public Safety Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada School of Public Service) were established toward the end of the study period. [Return]