Direkt zum Inhalt

19. Juni 2024

SOEP Brown Bag Seminar

The Dynamics of Poor-quality Employment in the UK: Up the Creek without a Paddle


19. Juni 2024


Karl Popper Room
DIW Berlin
Room 2.3.020
Mohrenstr. 58
10117 Berlin


Kirsten Sehnbruch, London School of Economics and International Inequalities Institute

Using panel data from Understanding Society, this paper presents a methodology for conceptualising and measuring poor-quality employment in the UK as a distinct concept from job quality. This allows us to identify the most vulnerable employed workers in the UK. Key to this approach is the recognition that poor employment conditions exacerbate each other leading to more intense levels of deprivation and frequently leading to workers becoming “stuck” in poor-quality employment. This situation is potentially reinforced by existing welfare state policies and conditionalities, leaving workers in a situation in which they become trapped.
This article will answer these questions and thus makes three key contributions to the literature on employment: first, it conceptualises poor-quality employment as a distinct concept from job quality or in-work poverty in a way that takes account of its multidimensionality. Second, based on Sehnbruch et al., (2020), it considers the distribution and joint distribution of deprivations in the labour market thus establishing how intensely workers are deprived. And third, whether this affects their likelihood of finding pathways out of chronic poor-quality employment. The paper concludes by discussing the relevance of this approach and its findings.