Change and Continuity in Precariousness: Labour Market Policy, Gendered Pathways and COVID-19 Crisis
Keywords:precariousness, COVID-19 outbreak, gender roles, absence of work, labour market
The paper employs a theoretically grounded analysis on precarious employment interrelated with gender-based inequalities and labour market changes in the recent COVID-19 outbreak. The concept of precariousness involves a complex understanding of the insecurity of continuous employment on both institutional and individual level. While the post-Fordist society marked radical changes in the labour market, recent neoliberal policies created new vulnerable groups that experience insecurity, the blocking of professional opportunities and insufficient income over time. This article builds on the idea that the 'stable' and 'flexible' labour market normalized the work insecurity in the context of the economic crises and led to precariousness. Work-related insecurity occurs in a gender-segregated labour market. For the exploration of ongoing processes of the precarization phenomenon, this article focuses on the connection between multidimensional concepts covering the economic, social and psychological consequences of labour insecurity. First, the paper aims to discuss a theory-based conceptualisation of precariousness understood as a multidimensional phenomenon in research literature. Second, the paper includes secondary empirical data on precarious employment, absence from work and COVID impact on gender-segregated labour market at the EU level from Eurostat (2020), EIGE (2020), ILO (2020) and Eurofound (2021). Finally, the results problematises existing approaches on precarious employment and gender inequalities in the context of labour market changes of the COVID-19 crisis.
Amable Marcelo et al. 2006. ‘Flexible employment and health: a critical review’, In La Precariedad Laboral y su Impacto en la Salud, Un Estudio en Trabajadores Asalariados en España, edited by Amable, Marcelo, Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
Bădoi, Delia. 2020. ‘Ocuparea pe platformele digitale în contextul crizei COVID-19: Studiu de caz asupra personalului de livrare’, Quality of Life Review (Revista Calitatea Vieții) XXXI, (2): 188–207.
Ban, Cornel. 2016. Ruling Ideas. How Global Neoliberalism Goes Local. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barbier, Joan 2004. ‘A comparative analysis of ‘employment precariousness in Europe’. Cross-National Research Papers 7: 7–19.
Benach Joan, and Muntaner Carles. 2007. ‘Precarious employment and health: Developing a research agenda’. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 61: 276–277.
Benach Joan et al. 2014. ‘Precarious employment: understanding an emerging social determinant of health’. Annual Review of Public Health 35: 229–53.
Boniol Mathieu et al. 2019. ‘Gender equity in the health workforce report: gender equity in the health workforce: Analysis of 104 countries’. World Health Organization, Health Workforce Working Paper, 1 March 2019.
Bourdieu, Pierre and Sayad Abdelmalek. 1964. Le déracinement. La crise de l’agriculture traditionnelle en Algérie. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.
Buckingham, Sophie et al. 2021. ‘Precarious work from a gender and intersectionality perspective, and ways to combat it’. European Parliament's Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/supporting-analyses.
Burgess, John and Campbell Iain. 1998. ‘The nature and dimensions of precarious employment in Australia’. Labour and Industry: A Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work 8(3): 5−21.
Castel, Robert. 1996. Les métamorphoses de la question sociale. Une chronique du salariat: Paris: Fayard.
Clarke Marlea, Wayne Lewchukb, Alice de Wolffc, Andy King. 2007. ‘This just isn’t sustainable’: Precarious employment, stress and workers’ health’, International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 30, 4−5: 311−326.
Cook Rose and Grimshaw Damian. 2020. ‘A gendered lens on COVID-19 employment and social policies in Europe’, European Societies 23, 1: 215-227.
Graeber David. 2018. The Rise of Pointless Work, and What We Can Do About It, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
della Porta, Donatella et al. 2015. The New Social Division Making and Unmaking Precariousness, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
EIGE. 2021. ‘Gender inequalities in care, and consequences for the labour market’, Vilnius: European Institute for Gender Equality.
EIGE. 2019. ‘Employment in human health activities by sex and age’. Database. available at: https://eige.europa.eu/gender-statistics/dgs/indicator/ta_wrklab_lab_employ_selected_healthcare__lfsa_egan22d_hlth.
EIGE. 2020. Covid-19 and gender equality, Vilnius: European Institute for Gender Equality.
Eurofound. 2013. ‘Quality of employment conditions and employment relations in Europe’. Dublin: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
Eurofound. 2017. ‘Sixth European Working Conditions Survey’ – Overview report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
Eurofound. 2021. ‘Living, working and COVID-19’, COVID-19 Series. Available at: https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_publication/field_ef_document/ef20059en.pdf.
Eurostat. 2020a. ‘Absence from work by main reason, sex and age group’. Database. Available at: https://data.europa.eu/euodp/data/dataset/hVWzmlvgj18DXi5l5bAaw.
Eurostat. 2020b. ‘UNECE indicators on quality of employment’. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/labour-market/quality-of-employment.
Eurostat. 2020c. ‘Precarious employment’. Database. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/lfsa_qoe_4ax1r2/default/table?lang=en
Ferreira, Maria. 2016. ‘Informal versus precarious work in Colombia: Concept and operationalization’. Progress in Development Studies 16(2): 140−158.
Harvey, David. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hoorens, Stijn et al. 2011. ‘Drivers of fertility: what the literature tells us’. In Low Fertility in Europe: Is There Still Reason to Worry?, Edited by Hoorens, Stijn et al. 15–26. RAND Corporation.
ILO. 2020. ‘Monitor 2nd edition: COVID-19 and the world of work. Updated estimates and analysis’. Available at : https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/briefingnote/wcms_740877.pdf.
Kalleberg, Arne. 2009. ‘Precarious Work, Insecure Workers: Employment Relations in Transition’, American Sociological Review 74: 1−22.
Kalleberg, Arne. 2011. Good jobs, bad jobs: The rise of polarized and precarious employment systems in the United States, 1970s-2000s. New York: Russell.
Minello, Alessandra, Sara Martucci and Lidia K. C. Manzo. 2021. ‘The pandemic and the academic mothers: present hardships and future perspectives’, European Societies 23,1: 82-S94, DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2020.1809690.
Olsthoorn, Martin. 2013. ‘Measuring Precarious Employment: A Proposal for Two Indicators of Precarious Employment Based on Set-Theory and Tested with Dutch Labor Market-Data’, Social Indicators Research 119: 421–441.
Pfau-Effinger, Birgit. 2005. ‘Culture and Welfare State Policies: Reflections on a Complex Interrelation’. Journal of Social Policy 34(1): 3−20.
Power, Kate. 2020. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the care burden of women and families’. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy 16, 1: 67−73, DOI: 10.1080/15487733.2020.1776561.
Puig-Barrachina Vanessa, Vanroelen Christophe, Vives Alejandra. 2014. ‘Measuring Employment Precariousness in the European Working Conditions Survey: The Social Distribution in Europe’, Work 49: 143–161.
Quinlan, Michael, Mayhew Claire, Bohle Philip. 2001. ‘The global expansion of precarious employment, work disorganization, and consequences for occupational health: Placing the debate in a comparative historical context’. International Journal of Health Services 31(3): 507–536.
Rodgers Gerry and Janine Rodgers (Eds.) 1989. Precarious jobs in labour market regulation: the growth of atypical employment in Western Europe. Geneva: ILO.
Standing, Guy. 2011. The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Trif, Aurora. 2013. ‘Romania: collective bargaining institutions under attack’. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 19.2: 227−237.
Vallas, Steve and Prener Christopher. 2012. ‘Dualism, Job Polarization, and the Social Construction of Precarious Work’, Work and Occupations 39(4) 331–353.
Vallas, Steve. 2015. ‘Accounting for precarity: Recent studies of labour market uncertainty’. Contemporary Sociology 44(4): 463−46.
Van Aerden Karen, Vanessa Puig-Barrachina, Bosmans Kim and Vanroelen Christophe. 2016. ‘How does employment quality relate to health and job satisfaction in Europe? A typological approach’. Social Science & Medicine 158(4): 132−40.
Vandenbrande, Tom. et al. 2012. ‘Quality of work and employment in Belgium’. Dublin: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
Vives, Vives, Francisca González, Salvador Moncada, Clara Llorens, Joan Benach. 2015. ‘Measuring precarious employment in times of crisis: the revised Employment Precariousness Scale (EPRES) in Spain’. Gaceta Sanitaria 29 (5): 379-382.
Vieira, Cristina Mesa, Oscar H. Franco, Carlos Gómez Restrepo, Thomas Abela. (2020). ‘COVID-19: the forgotten priorities of the pandemic’. Maturitas 136: 38–41.
Voicu, Malina and Bădoi, Delia. 2020. ‘Fertility and the COVID-19 crisis: do gender roles really matter?’. European Societies 23,1: 199-214. DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2020.1822537.
Vosko, Leah. F. 2006. Precarious employment. Understanding labour market insecurity in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Wenham Clare, Smith Julia and Morgan, Rosemary. 2020. 'COVID-19: the gendered impacts of the outbreak’. The Lancet 395(10227): 846–8.
Zamarro, Gema and María J. Prados. 2021. ‘Gender differences in couples’ division of childcare, work and mental health during COVID-19, Review of Economics of the Household 19:11–40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11150-020-09534-7.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Romanian Academy Publishing House
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.