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Disparity in precarity : Measuring insecurity and inequality in youth transitions from education into and within the labour market

Holcekova, Maria (2020) Disparity in precarity : Measuring insecurity and inequality in youth transitions from education into and within the labour market. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Young people have always been argued to be disadvantaged in labour market opportunities and avoiding insecurity. Yet most of these arguments have been based on theoretical, anecdotal, and qualitative accounts, and they focus on aggregate measures of youth unemployment, which tend to hide inequality. The purpose of this thesis is to provide missing nationally representative empirical evidence on the extent of and inequality in insecurity in the contemporary English youth labour market, and in comparison to the past. After reviewing the existing literature (Chapter 1), the first analysis (Chapter 2), using data from the 1985 and 2015 Labour Force Survey, shows that there is a lot more nuance to the blanket claims of most types of insecurity increasing over time for most workers. The following two chapters (Chapters 3 and 4) investigate, using the longitudinal data from the Next Steps dataset, the mechanisms through which young people find themselves in insecure forms of employment for two groups: early-leavers from education, including those experiencing spells in NEET, and further-education graduates. My findings show that it is previous experiences of insecurity, and underlying structural factors, such as one’s socio-economic position, sex, and caring responsibilities, rather than the non-participation in education, employment, or training, that puts young people in insecure jobs later in their labour market transitions. A major policy implication of these findings is that pushing young people into employment without considering its security, both in terms of career progression and stability, might potentially make youth transitions more chaotic and less advantageous. Furthermore, my findings put recent government strategies of shifting responsibility onto young people and away from the state, and increasingly conditional welfare support, into question, because they fail to address the structural inequalities in access to, and returns from, education for young people in different socio-economic positions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Maria Holcekova
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2020 08:00
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2020 08:00

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