Edited by Heikki Ervasti, Torben Fridberg, Mikael Hjerm and Kristen Ringdal
Chapter 9: Non-standard Employment and Job Quality
Heikki Ervasti INTRODUCTION During the last decades, working life has been involved in a process of everaccelerating change. A notable percentage of the European labour force is already employed in non-standard or ﬂexible work arrangements, yet claims for further deregulation are not rare in policy debate. The proponents of deregulation, who are mostly employers and right-wing politicians, view the European labour markets as ‘sclerotic’; that is, too rigid and inﬂexible to meet the demands of intensiﬁed global competition. According to their view, the strongly regulated labour markets and generous welfare states hinder economic performance and generate massive problems in the labour markets, with high levels of structural unemployment being the most visible problem (see Andersen and Jensen 2004 for an overview). Therefore, there are many people who think that less regulation and the enforcement of pure and undisturbed market forces are the only ways to economic success and high levels of employment in European countries. It is commonly argued that the increase in non-standard work will oﬀer certain advantages for both employers and employees (see Belous 1989). From the employers’ point of view, non-standard working arrangements provide numerical ﬂexibility, which helps ﬁrms adjust their workforces to uncertain market demands and save notably on employment costs. For example, the subcontracting and outsourcing of non-essential functions make it possible for ﬁrms to concentrate on their core areas of competence and to use their resources more eﬃciently (Kalleberg and Olsen 2004, p. 322). As a positive consequence for employees,...
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