So how exactly does one calculate their score on the Employment Precarity Index?

As noted in PEPiN Nerd Blog Post #4, the Employment Precarity Index (EPI) is a measure created from responses to ten (10) close-ended questions. Each question’s possible response is then weighted. These ten scores are then added up to create a single Employment Precarity Index score of 0 to 100.

Because the Employment Precarity Index is more complicated to calculate than the Secure Employment variable, we’ve provided a tutorial to explain how we calculate the EPI.

Step 1: Answer the following questions. Then, score each of them. Finally, add up all your scores to come up with your Employment Precarity Index score.

NB: In the telephone survey, Question #9 is actually asked using two separate survey questions. In the 2011 and 2013 versions of the Employment Precarity Index, Question #10 uses a five-point Likert response of Very Likely (+10), Likely (+7.5), Neither likely nor unlikely (+5), Unlikely (+0) and Very Unlikely (+0).

In cases where any of the respondents did not know or refused to answer any of these ten questions, we could not use their response to calculate the Employment Precarity Index. As a result, they were dropped from the calculation. Of the 713 survey respondents, 684 answered these ten questions. The minimum score possible is 0 and the maximum score possible is 100.

 Practice by scoring Judy and Bob’s responses: Judy Q1 NO, Q2 YES, Q3 SOME, Q4 UNLIKELY, Q5 MOST OF THE TIME, Q6 ALWAYS, Q7 NONE, Q8 PERMANENT PART-TIME, Q9 NO & YES, Q10 YES. Bob Q1 YES, Q2 YES, Q3 A LITTLE, Q4 UNLIKELY, Q5 NEVER, Q6 ALWAYS, Q7 NONE, Q8 PERMANENT FULL-TIME, Q9 YES & YES, Q10 NO. Scroll to the bottom for the answers.

Step 2: We then take everyone’s Employment Precarity Index scores, and rank the scores from smallest to largest.

Thus, if your EPI score is zero, then you are ranked first (or equivalently with all the other persons who scored a zero). Next, we rank all the persons who have an EPI score of 2.5 (as that is the next lowest possible score. For instance, Answer d “Most of the time” to Question 6: “Do you know your work schedule at least one week in advance?” is worth 2.5 points). We then move on to all those person whose EPI score was a 5. We continue ranking these scores until we reach 100.

When we are done with all this ranking, we have what is called a distribution. If we make a relative frequency histogram or absolute frequency histogram (it resembles a bar graph but is not a bar graph), we can see the spread of the scores making up the Employment Precarity Index.

Step 3: We then divide this distribution into quartiles (or categories). This creates four categories. The first quartile includes the lowest EPI scores, the second and third quartiles follow, and the fourth quartile contains the highest EPI scores. Following the convention established in the 2011,  2013 and 2015 PEPSO studies on precarious employment in the GTA and Hamilton, we call the first quartile secure, the second stable, the third vulnerable and the fourth precarious.

More importantly, we have identified cut-points for these four categories. This, in conjunction with our original distribution, provides us a baseline against which to compare future surveys, and in turn determine if overall Niagara’s workers are becoming more or less secure over time.

 ANSWERS: Judy’s score on the Employment Precarity Index is 40. Bob’s is 2.5.