Work in Transition: Labour Market Life Expectancy and Years Spent in Precarious Employment in Spain 1986–2016

  • Mariona LozanoEmail author
  • Elisenda Rentería


In this paper, we measure the number of years that men and women have been expected to spend in the labour market at age 16 and at age 50 during the period 1986–2016. The objective is twofold. First, we show the change in active years during these three decades, and calculate the gender gap in the time spent in different work statutes (active/inactive, employed/unemployed). Second, we examine the increased prevalence of precarious employment conditions over time. Precarious work is measured through a multidimensional indicator using the Spanish Labour Force Survey. We combined this dataset with registered population data to calculate life expectancy in the labour market, and found that the gender gap in employment has largely reduced due to women’s increased activity. Women have gained 13.6 years of employment during the period considered here, while men lost almost 5 years. In addition, precarious forms of working lives have been growing extensively, and have especially affected younger cohorts, drawing a clear trend towards a dual labour market. In addition, women have spent more time in precarious employment than men at all ages, indicating that most of the growth in females’ employment has been under precarious job conditions.


Labour market Life expectancy Working-life trajectories Gender gap Precarious employment Spain 



The authors acknowledge funding from Ramon Areces Foundations and the research project “La sostenibilidad de las pensiones desde una perspectiva demográfica: El aumento de la actividad laboural femenina y la mejora de la relación contribuyentes/pensionistas”; the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness “Juan de la Cierva” Research Grant Programs (JdlC-I-2014-21178 and JdlC-I-2016-30557); and support from the CSO2016-77449-R R+D project; and CERCA Programme Generalitat de Catalunya.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Estudis DemogràficsBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Centre d’Estudis DemogràicsUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain

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