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Temporary work and self-employment have a negative impact on workers’ wellbeing

Maite Blázquez, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, UAM; Ainhoa Herrarte, UAM; Ana Isabel Moro Egido, Universidad de Granada
Project selected in the Call to support social research projects: vocational training, early school leaving and job insecurity

The boom in atypical employment (self-employment and temporary work), favoured by the gig economy, has generated widespread social debate. On the one hand, the greater job insecurity associated with these types of employment can have a negative impact on workers’ levels of wellbeing. On the other hand, the greater flexibility and independence offered by these types of work can generate positive effects on workers’ wellbeing. This research shows that temporary work and self-employment, closely linked to the gig economy, have a negative impact on the wellbeing of workers, especially in terms of their self-rated state of health. Self-employment, moreover, is the modality that brings with it the greatest deterioration in this dimension of wellbeing.
Key points
  • 1
       Temporary employment and, above all, self-employment reduce the wellbeing of workers.
  • 2
       Temporary and self-employed workers have health levels 37% poorer than workers on a permanent wage.
  • 3
       In the remaining wellbeing indicators, the impact of self-employment and temporary work is more moderate: for satisfaction with the individual economic situation it is 7%; for job satisfaction it is 9%, and for happiness, general satisfaction, and satisfaction with free time, around 15%.
  • 4
       Self-employment is higher among older workers and among males, while temporary employment pre-dominates among younger people and women.
  • 5
       When Spain is compared with the rest of the EU-15, a higher incidence is confirmed of self-employment and of temporary employment, the educational level of self-employed people is lower, and women require more training than men to achieve more stable jobs. There is also a notable difference of 26 percentage points in the temporary work rate among the youngest adults.
Self-employed and temporary workers claim a poorer quality of life than permanent wage-earners
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