How Social Class Matters in Temporality: From Keeping Your Job to Obtaining a Permanent Contract

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW2.3.03 (Tower Two)
Jacobo Munoz-Comet, UNED, Madrid, Spain
Juan-Ignacio Martínez-Pastor, UNED, Madrid, Spain
This article studies the effect of temporality on labor opportunities per social class. We shed light on the question on whether non-standard employment —in the form of fixed-term contracts— has been extended equally to all social classes or not. In order to do so, we use data from the Spanish Labour Force Survey between 2010 and 2013, and apply a discrete time competing risks model to study patterns of temporality outflows. We study the probability of moving from a temporary contract i) to a permanent contract, ii) to unemployment, iii) to inactivity, iv) to become an employer or self-employed, or v) to continuing having a temporary contract.

The contribution of this paper to the current literature is threefold. First, we approach the consequences of labor flexibility by taking into account the social class structure, whereas the vast majority of studies on temporality have focused on other classical variables such as gender or education. Second, we consider various options for transition from temporality, and do not solely consider the classic issue of whether temporality is a bridge to a more stable job. The third and final contribution is related with the case study. Current research concludes that fixed-term contracts serve more as a bridge to a permanent contract than a trap towards precarious positions (Booth, Francesconi and Frank, 2002; Gagliarducci, 2005; Gash, 2008; Picchio, 2008; De Graaf-Zijl, Van den Berg and Heyma, 2011). In that sense Spain is a-typical in comparison to other European countries given that, at least in the beginning of their labor careers, people frequently have consecutively fixed-term contracts or transit to unemployment (García-Pérez and Muñoz-Buñón, 2011). By studying the effect of temporality on labor opportunities in the Spanish context, we therefore provide a more in-depth understanding of temporality in this specific context.

The results of this article show no clear disadvantage between social classes when moving from temporary to permanent contracts. There are no statistically significant differences between manual workers and the high class service (namely, professionals, administrators, managers and higher-grade technicians), which means neither of the groups is more likely to achieve a permanent job. However, the findings do confirm Goldthorpe’s skepticism given that the risks in the era of flexibility are not equal for all (Goldthorpe, 2007), at least in Spain where temporality is highly widespread. The key of the different consequences of temporality between social classes would be in the patterns of labor market exits. The likelihood of moving from temporality to unemployment is much lower for high class service workers than for manual employees, a pattern that also goes for the transition to inactivity.