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The relationship between employability and working conditions: A longitudinal study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It has been argued that the labor market is divided into several segments, described as primary and secondary. In this respect, the dual labor market theory states that people in the primary segment have better working conditions and better prospects as compared to those in the secondary segment. Furthermore, it is also suggested that there are difficulties in moving between these segments, implying a stigmatizing effect of being in the secondary segment. The dual labor market theory has again become interesting as the labor market today is characterized by flexibility and individualization. In this context, the notion of employability has been emphasized as an important feature of contemporary employees in order to maintain control over their working life. Employability reflects peoples perceptions of their possibilities to get new employment and it could be argued that employability, over time, strengthens employees’ positions on the labor market. As such, it is important to study if employability affects working conditions and thus, the aim of the present study is to investigate the relationship between employability and subsequent demands and control. A representative sample of individuals between 25 and 50 years, working in Sweden, was used were employability was measured in 2004 and working conditions measured in 2006. The study compared the working conditions of individuals that were very high and very low in employability in 2004. Two scales of working conditions were used, reflecting the increase of demands and control over the last year. 643 individuals answered the questionnaire and preliminary results indicate that employability was associated to subsequent working conditions. When controlling for age, gender, socio-economic position and educational level employability was associated with subsequent increase in job control but not with increase in job demands. A possible explanation is that people with higher employability over time get better positions in their organizations and thereby also report better job control. Regarding demands, the results may indicate that demands increase regardless of position in the organization. The result are relevant for practice since they indicate that people with low levels of employability receive less influence over their working life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
employability, working conditions
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69414OAI: diva2:476683
The 15th Conference of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology, Maastricht, May 25-28, 2011.
Available from: 2012-01-12 Created: 2012-01-12 Last updated: 2012-04-27Bibliographically approved

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Berntson, Erik
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