Fixed-Term Contracts and Subjective Insecurity: The Impact on Workers' Well-Being

Friday, 3 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
OLD.2.22 (Old Building)
Shireen Kanji, Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
Laura Helbling, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Fixed-term contracts are increasingly prevalent in Germany. Linked to this "objective" dimension of insecure work are individuals' subjective realities of fears surrounding job security. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel, this article explores how objective conditions and subjective perceptions are related, showing that the ways in which they are not congruent. Dual-domain latent growth-curve analysis establishes the work and life-satisfaction trajectories of people initially aged 27-33 over a five-year period, examining how insecurity affects these well-being trajectories. The results indicate the pervasive detrimental effects of workers’ concerns about job security, which are separate from the objective condition of a fixed-term contract.  Subjective fears, not employment on an objectively insecure contract, adversely impact well-being, and these effects persist over time.  Education stratifies how workers experience contractual insecurity, such that for those with a low or medium level of education, a fixed-term contract adversely impacts how work and life satisfaction evolve over time. A select group of higher educated workers who do not worry about their work security experience no adverse well-being effects from having a fixed-term contract.