Stream 1: Atypical Employment in the Context of Cultural Change and Welfare State Change

Birgit Pfau-Effinger and Patricia Frericks

During the transition from industrial society towards postindustrial society the share of jobs in atypical employment has increased in many European countries. Also, the structures of atypical employment have changed, and new forms of atypical employment have developed. In addition, a new relationship between employment and income has in parts developed. General trends which include the internationalization of economies, welfare state reforms, digitization, the extension of women’s employment and cultural change concerning the role of work in people’s life and the work-family relationship have contributed to this change in the size and strucutures of atypical employment. These macro trends have affected the employment strategies of the workers on the supply side and the strategies of firms vis-à-vis employment on the demand side, as well as the power relations between the supply and demand side.

Welfare state policies have a great impact on the degree to which atypical employment is used, since they provide the institutional framework for the contract conditions, the working conditions and the degree to which workers in atypical employment are eligible to social security. These policies and the corresponding institutional framing of atypical employment differ in parts substantially in a cross-national perspective.

It was argued, that atypical employment is first and foremost a precarious type of work, since it is less protected by social security systems and by the system of industrial relations than standard employment, and since firms tend to allocate workers in atypical employment to the jobs in the marginalized segments of jobs. However, empirical studies also show also that the working and contract conditions in atypical employment differ substantially between different groups of employees. .

We invite papers that contribute to answering the following questions in a national or cross-national perspective:

– How have welfare state policies towards atypical employment changed?

– How did atypical employment develop, and how far was this development caused by change in welfare state policies?

– How did the motives of employees and the strategies of firms towards atypical employment develop?

– What is the role of cultural change for the development of atypical employment and vice versa?

– What is the role of atypical employment in the context of labor market segmentation and labor market segregation in the context of different welfare states?


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