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Precarious work and intrinsic job quality: Evidence from Finland, 1984–2013

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2023

Pasi Pyöriä*
University of Tampere, Finland
Satu Ojala
University of Tampere, Finland
Pasi Pyöriä, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere, Tampere FI-33014, Finland. Email:


It is often argued that job insecurity and precarious work are on the rise. However, the evidence to back these arguments remains mixed and inconclusive. In this study, we define and measure precarious work in Finland using five variables that reflect both objective and subjective insecurity: atypical employment, actually experienced unemployment, the threat of dismissal or unemployment, poor chances of finding a new job, and low earnings. Results based on Statistics Finland’s Quality of Work Life Surveys from 1984 to 2013 indicate that, from a labour market or forms of employment perspective, the proportion of precarious wage earners has increased from 11% in 1984 to 13% in 2013. From a second perspective, however, focusing on changing working conditions, growing inequality and eroding social security mechanisms, we also analyse how a precarious labour market position is related to intrinsic job quality. Precarious workers experience decreased levels of skill and discretion, and they work in a less supportive environment than other employees.

Rethinking Precariousness and Flexibility
© The Author(s) 2016

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