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  • Author or Editor: Dirk Hofäcker x
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The relationship between unstable work careers and family transitions into adult life can vary according to the personal circumstances of individuals, as well as the welfare state system of the country.

Drawing from interviews and survey data across the EU and the UK, this in-depth study explores how worker instability is perceived and experienced, and how this ‘perception’ in turn affects individuals’ economic and social situation. Using intersectional analysis and a unique focus on different life stages, the authors identify groups who are more prone to labour market risks and describe their relative disadvantage.

This powerful study will inform policy measures internationally in several social domains related to work, employment and society.

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The objective and subjective dimensions of job insecurity have been addressed in sociological literature by several theoretical and empirical studies, with particular attention to the variations associated with welfare regimes and labour market regulations, yet other micro level dimensions have received less attention or findings remain inconclusive.. Furthermore, comparatively little research has investigated how (objective and subjective) job insecurity impacts on later transitions in life, such as mid-career trajectories and transitions from work to retirement. This chapter explores the relationship between objective and subjective job insecurity in the past literature. In particular, it links the results with the types of welfare states systems. The chapters take into account the micro, meso and macro levels.

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This chapter explores the two dimensions of job insecurity, objective and subjective, across European countries. Using quantitative data for EU28 countries (including UK), the chapter provides an overview of the variation of job insecurity across different welfare state regimes and across young and adult workers. Moreover, the chapter investigates the interplay between the objective and subjective dimension of job insecurity at individual level, analyzing inconsistent profiles and characteristics of workers who are in a situation of objective insecurity but do not feel insecure (and vice versa). The findings provide an encompassing view of the phenomenon in its complexity and the emerging insights contribute to address the phenomenon at policy level.

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This chapter focuses on young people in Europe in conditions of low attachment to the labour market and their decision-making mechanisms with respect to the transition to autonomous living. The results will be contextualized at the macro level taking into consideration the role of the relevant welfare state regimes. Then we will focus on how objective and subjective job insecurity affect housing autonomy of youth in different welfare state regimes.

The rationale behind the choice of the countries is driven by the mixed-method design of the chapter, which integrates quantitative data aimed at illustrating statistical regularities around the phenomenon of leaving the parental home and qualitative data aimed at investigating the meaning and mechanisms behind such transition.

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This chapter explores the relationship between objective and subjective insecurity in mid-career. We will apply a perspective looking at the gender-specific experience of objective employment insecurity and the subjectively perceived insecurity of men and women. We will start by providing an overview about the overall labour force attachment of the two genders over time by contrasting their overall employment rates. Particular attention in this respect will be given to women’s employment during motherhood and early childhood years.

We will investigate how far job insecurity impacts on key indicators in the quality of life for men and women, and how far this effect is mediated by both macro level and micro level factors.

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This chapter provides a stylized overview of key developments in older workers’ employment trends since the 1980s. Following this quantitative overview of the extent of older workers’ employment, the following sections take a look at the qualitative aspects of their employment. Subsequently we investigate how far older workers perceive their employment as being (in)secure and how this perception has changed over time. We discuss the future insecurity around income prospects in old age, considering the pension-related perceptions of today’s older employees and pensioners, but also considering the long-term pension effects of the spread of atypical employment among younger labour market generations.

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This book has analyzed the link between objective and subjective job insecurity along the life courses of individuals. While objective job insecurity had been investigated extensively in previous literature, subjective job insecurity had comparatively received lesser attention. In empirical terms, analyzing job insecurity poses a challenge, given that its nature is multidimensional and it is influenced by a complex set of factors at different levels, individual and collective. Earlier research has either looked on objective or subjective job insecurity separately. We addressed the two dimensions in their own specificity, but also analysed the interplay between objective and subjective factors. We could thus additionally highlight inconsistencies between the two dimensions and their relative incidence. Only in this way can we provide a complete picture of job insecurity across welfare states.

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Chapter abstract

The introduction explains the research questions of the book, the approach and the methodology used by the authors. This book addresses the issue of job insecurity from a holistic point of view, considering both the objective and subjective dimension and the whole life course of individuals. The interplay between the objective and subjective dimension has often been overlooked in sociology, with studies mainly focusing on one (for example, objective) or the other dimension (for example, subjective) or competing to demonstrate which of the two, objective or subjective, can have the largest influence.

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As a result of the projected ageing of Europe’s population, the sustainability of public pensions has become one of the most important political issues in recent decades, because the number of pension recipients is increasing while the number of pension contributors is decreasing. Hence, the period over which pension recipients receive pension payouts is expected to increase in many OECD countries (Chomik and Whitehouse, 2010). Pay-as-you-go pension systems, which are common across Europe, face increasing difficulties in ensuring their current and future sustainability.

These difficulties were already acknowledged in a report published by the World Bank in 1994, entitled Averting the Old Age Crisis: Policies to Protect the Old and Promote Growth. Here, it was argued that in the face of ageing populations, three-pillar pension systems should be established that combine standard public pensions with additional savings into both occupational and private pension plans. Up to now, many European countries have established such three-pillar pension systems, though with significant cross-national variations in the relative importance of the three pillars. At the same time, the generosity of public pensions, which previously accounted for the ‘lion’s share’ of old-age income, has generally decreased – for example, by reducing the gross pension replacement rate and increasing the retirement age (OECD, 2013). With the implementation of the three-pillar pension model, responsibility for ensuring a sustainable income in old-age has been shifted increasingly away from public authorities and on to individuals. This creates intergenerational inequalities, because – unlike today’s pensioners who still retire with good public pensions – almost all young Europeans will retire under the new three-pillar pension system (Ebbinghaus and Gronwold, 2011).

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