Precarious Knowledge Work? The Combined Effect of Occupational Unemployment and Flexible Employment on Job Insecurity


Job insecurity affects individual well-being and organisational performance. Many studies show correlation between job insecurity and flexible employment. However, whether flexible contracts inevitably contribute to precarious employment, independently of other factors, is less clear. Here, we investigate the impact of employment flexibility on job insecurity among knowledge workers, depending on the unemployment rate in their occupations. Logistic models, estimated using a large sample of workers, showed that job insecurity among temporary workers in occupations with low unemployment does not differ significantly from job insecurity among permanent workers. Occupational unemployment adversely affects only temporary knowledge workers, while permanent workers are uninfluenced.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    The Student’s t tests for equality of means and χ2 test for independence of samples have confirmed that the differences between knowledge workers and other workers were significant for all the analysed variables in both the considered periods.


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Correspondence to Aleksandra Wilczyńska.



Table 4 Distribution of occupations in group of knowledge workers and other workers
Table 5 Unemployment in occupations

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Wilczyńska, A., Batorski, D. & Torrent-Sellens, J. Precarious Knowledge Work? The Combined Effect of Occupational Unemployment and Flexible Employment on Job Insecurity. J Knowl Econ 11, 281–304 (2020).

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  • Job insecurity
  • Employment flexibility
  • Occupational unemployment
  • Knowledge work