Patterns of Workplace Supervisory Roles: Experiences of Canadian Workers


  • Robert D. Hiscott University of Waterloo


workplace, canadian, workers, experiences, supervisory


This paper explores the incidence of four supervisory duties and several factors influencing the likelihood of having experience with such responsibilities in the workplace. Supervisory experiences of working Canadians are investigated through secondary analysis of longitudinal panel data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) over a six-year time frame (1996 to 2001). Over this period, a majority reported at least some workplace experience with supervisory roles, with male workers, university-educated workers, and those from management and certain professional occupational sectors exhibiting markedly higher profiles of supervisory duty experience over time. Two trivariate interactions (university education by occupational sector by supervisory experience, and sex by occupational sector by supervisory experience) are identified as important through multivariate log-linear modelling, and examined further through percentage tables. The strengths of associations between education and supervisory experience, and gender and supervisory experience were mediated to some degree by occupational sector of employment.


Arthur, M.B., Hall, D.T. & Lawrence, B.S. (1989). Handbook of career theory. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Arthur, M.B., Khapova, S.N. & Wilderom, C.P.M. (2005). Career success in a boundaryless career world. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 177-202.

Boothby, D. & Rainville, B. (2004). Adjustments in labour markets for skilled workers in Canada (Working paper C-01). Ottawa, Ontario: Skills Research Initiative Working Paper Series.

Canary, H.E. & Canary, D.J. (2007). Making sense of one’s career: An analysis and typology of supervisor career stories. Communication Quarterly, 55(2), 225-246.

Cooke-Reynolds, M. & Zukewich, N. (2004, Spring). The feminization of work. Canadian Social Trends, 72, 24-29.

Dwyer, R.E. (2004, February). Downward earnings mobility after voluntary employer exits. Work and Occupations, 31(1), 111-139.

Fields, D., Dingman, M.E., Roman, P. M. & Blum, T.C. (2005). Exploring predictors of alternative job changes. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78, 63-82.

Foot, D.K. & Venne, R.A. (1990, December). Population, pyramids and promotional prospects. Canadian Public Policy, 16(4), 387-398.

Giles, P. (2001). An overview of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID). Canadian Studies in Population, 28(2), 363-375.

Hachen Jr., D. (1990). Three models of job mobility in labor markets. Work and Occupations, 17(3), 320-354.

Hughes, K. (1995, Autumn). Women in non-traditional occupations. Perspectives on Labour and Income, 14-19.

Jacobs, J.A. (1992). Women’s entry into management: Trends in earnings, authority and values among salaried managers. Administrative Science Quarterly, 37, 282-301.

Kambourov, G. & Manovskii, I. (2004). Rising occupational and industry mobility in the United States: 1968- 1993. PENN Institute for Economic Research, Working Paper 04-012, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Lee, P.C.B. (2003). Going beyond career plateau: Using professional plateau to account for work outcome. Journal of Management Development, 22(6), 538-551.

Le Grand, C. & Tåhlin, M. (2002). Job mobility and earnings growth. European Sociological Review. 18(4), 381-400.

Leicht, K. (1998). Work (if you can get it) and occupations (if there are any)? Work and Occupations, 25(1), 36-48.

Livingstone, D.W. (1999). The education-jobs gap: Underemployment or economic democracy. Toronto, Ontario: Garamond Press.

Maume, D.J. (2006, May). Gender differences in taking vacation time. Work and Occupations, 33(2), 161- 190.

McBrier, D.B. & Wilson, G. (2004, August). Going down? Race and downward occupational mobility for white-collar workers in the 1990s. Work and Occupations, 31(3), 283-322.

Metz, I. & Tharenou, P. (2001). Women’s career advancement: The relative contribution of human and social capital. Group and Organization Management, 26(3), 312-342.

Montmarquette, C. & Boisclair, D. (2004). Post-secondary educational institutions’ adjustment to labour market changes: Major concerns and key research issues (Working paper C-02). Ottawa, Ontario: Skills Research Initiative Working Paper Series.

Nachbagauer, A.G.M. & Riedl, G. (2002). Effects of concepts of career plateaus on performance, work satisfaction and commitment. International Journal of Manpower, 23(8), 716-733.

Pergamit, M.R. & Veum, J.R. (1999, July). What is a promotion? Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 52(4), 581-601.

Rosenfeld, R. (1992). Job mobility and career processes. Annual Review of Sociology, 18, 39-61.

Rosenfeld, R.A., Van Buren, M.E. & Kalleberg, A.L. (1998). Gender differences in supervisory authority: Variation among advanced industrialized democracies. Social Science Research, 27, 23-49.

Rothman, R.A. (1998). Working: Sociological perspectives, Second edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Rothstein, D.S. (2001, April). Supervisory status and upper-level supervisory responsibilities: Evidence from the NLSY79. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 54(3),


Sackmann, R., Windzio, M. & Wingens, M. (2001). Unemployment and social mobility in East Germany. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 21(4/5/6), 92- 106.

Scherer, S. (2004). Stepping-stones or traps? The consequences of labour market entry positions on future careers in West Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Work, Employment and Society, 18(2), 369-394.

Schippman, J.S., Prien, E.P. & Hughes, G.L. (1991). The content of management work: Formation of task and job skill composite classifications. Journal of Business and Psychology, 5(3), 325-353.

Smith, R.A. (2002). Race, gender, and authority in the workplace: Theory and research. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 509-542.

Statistics Canada (2005). Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 1991. URL:

Taniguchi, H. & Rosenfeld, R.A. (2002). Women’s employment exit and reentry: differences among whites, blacks, and Hispanics. Social Science Research, 31, 432-471.

Vaillancourt, C. (2001). The school-towork transition: What motivates graduates to change jobs? Education Quarterly Review, 7(4), 18-24.




How to Cite

Hiscott, R. D. . (2008). Patterns of Workplace Supervisory Roles: Experiences of Canadian Workers. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 7(2), 8–18. Retrieved from