Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Does temp employment have long-term effects?

There has been quite a lot of popular press around the declining quality of jobs for young workers. These stories tend to centre on identifying elements of employment precarity (e.g., low wages, job insecurity, limited access to employment or statutory benefits and rights) that seem to typify youth employment.

An interesting question is whether such employment conditions affect workers in the long-term. That is to say, is precarious employment a phase or does it affect lifelong work prospects?

The Canadian Review of Sociology has recently published “Lasting disadvantage? Comparing career trajectories of matched temporary and permanent workers in Canada” which offers some answers.  

The crux of it is that workers who start out in temporary jobs start out with lower income than workers in permanent jobs and this affect persists over the following five years. There is also a gendered nature to this effect: it is more pronounced for women.

There is quite a lot of nuance to the analysis (that I won’t try to summarize) as the authors cleverly investigated the effect of employment and job type and security. The overall message is that, looking at a five-year window, temporary employment has lasting and negative effects, particularly for female workers.

-- Bob Barnetson

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