You are looking at 1 - 5 of 5 items

  • Author or Editor: Wieteke Conen x
Clear All Modify Search
You do not have access to this content

Wieteke Conen

Self-employment among older workers is diverse. Some have been self-employed much or all of their working lives, while others make the transition into self-employment after age 50 or as part of a transition into retirement. This chapter examines motives and transition moments for older workers to become self-employed and studies precariousness among older self-employed workers between 50 and 80 years of age. The question is addressed who works beyond state pension age and why. The findings in this chapter support earlier findings that relatively privileged workers, including self-employed, tend to work beyond state pension age. However, the findings also indicate that while on the one hand employees are for the most relatively protected against the necessity to extend working life beyond state pension age, on the other hand self-employed may more often have to continue working because of financial precariousness and despite poor physical conditions.

You do not have access to this content

Self-Employment as Precarious Work

A European Perspective

Wieteke Conen and Joop Schippers

Since the 1970s the long term decline in self-employment has slowed – and even reversed in some countries – and the prospect of ‘being your own boss’ is increasingly topical in the discourse of both the general public and within academia. Traditionally, self-employment has been associated with independent entrepreneurship, but increasingly it has become a form of precarious work. This book utilises evidence-based information to address both the current and future challenges of this trend as the nature of self-employment changes, as well as to demonstrate where, when and why self-employment has emerged as precarious work in Europe.
This content is available to you

Wieteke Conen and Joop Schippers

This chapter initiates the conversation between theory, methods, evidence and consequences of self-employment as precarious work. We conceptualize precarious employment in the context of self-employment and approach precarious work as an employment situation in which individuals or households are unable to fulfil fundamental physiological and security needs while working as self-employed. Throughout the book we emphasize three dimensions of precariousness which seem particularly relevant in the context of self-employment: income inadequacy while working (related to concepts such as in-work poverty, low-income households and financial resilience); a lack of adequate social benefits and regulatory protection (related to concepts such as false or bogus self-employment and social security provisions); and work with a high uncertainty of continuing work (related to concepts such as work insecurity, lack of employability and financial unrest). The chapter examines developments in Europe and illustrates the content and contributions in this book.

You do not have access to this content

Wieteke Conen and Maarten Debets

The Netherlands is among the European countries with the largest increase in solo self-employment, whereas Germany has witnessed a much more moderate growth and recently even a decline. The chapter examines precariousness among solo self-employed in both countries and studies their behaviour and attitudes towards social risk. We use both unique comparative survey data and qualitative interviews. The question is addressed how solo self-employed deal with their insecure position. The findings indicate that financial resilience, social protection and (perceived) work uncertainty are often largely influenced by extant other sources of income (such as financial back-up) or expected sources of income (e.g. inheritance), which the self-employed take into account in their decision-making. Although some groups have adequately and ‘traditionally’ taken care of social risks and some have ‘alternative’ ways to deal with social risks, for a seemingly substantial group of solo self-employed social protection is a genuine sore point.

You do not have access to this content

Joop Schippers and Wieteke Conen

This chapter discusses the findings from previous chapters, points to future policy challenges and presents suggestions for future research. The picture of self-employment as precarious work in Europe is diverse and far from uniform, but with respect to the different dimensions one may conclude – though with a degree of caution – that: (1) for many self-employed current income is not an immediate or pressing problem, although for some this is mostly because their income from self-employment is not the only source of income. Still, many self-employed lack the opportunity to put something aside for a rainy day; (2) in various countries, social benefits and regulatory protection are relatively poor, though very much depending on specific national conditions; and (3) uncertainty for self-employed is typically high, but also often regarded part of the job. Directions for future research include research on changes in employment biographies over time, employment insecurity and social protection.