Anna Kim, Karin Kurz
Precarious Employment, Education and Gender: A comparison of Germany and the United Kingdom

Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 39
ISSN: 1437-8574

During the last decades most industrialised countries have experienced a massive educational expansion. Corresponding to this development there has been an increase of female employment which is, however, to a large extent part-time. At the same time, the attempts of firms to achieve more employment flexibility - facilitated by government intervention to deregulate the labor market - has contributed to the growth of precarious jobs, such as, fixed-term, (certain types of) part-time jobs and self-employment. This has been true in particular for the United Kingdom.
In this paper we examine the relationships between the growth of precarious employment, the general educational expansion and gender in Germany and the United Kingdom. Our first question is to what extent education shields from insecure employment. The empirical analysis focuses on effects of both general and vocational education and compares these effects between countries. Based on national differences in the educational systems, we expect a relatively smaller influence of education on the likelihood of precarious employment in the UK where the educational system is less restrictive - that is, less rigidly stratified - than in Germany. Second, we try to better understand the link between gender and precarious employment by looking at its embeddedness within the national institutional arrangements. We expect that the economic interests of firms to create precarious jobs are more or less closely linked to the national "gender regimes". Given the stronger emphasis on the male-breadwinner model we expect that the female bias in precarious employment is relatively stronger in Germany than in the United Kingdom.
Data from the German Microcensus (1982, 1996) and the British Labor Force Survey (1984, 1996) are used for the empirical analyses.