Underemployment and stagnant wages may be strong signs of worker insecurity in the face of relentless cost-cutting.
Most workers are still employees, not casuals or gig workers. So what has changed to increase the insecurity of workers?
Gig platforms don’t have a large share of the labour market yet.
There is very little evidence that overall labour market insecurity is getting any worse. Trends are stable for rates of casualisation, churn, self-employment and multiple job holders.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing, and arts and recreation services are much more precarious for their employees.
Despite relatively stable and low levels of unemployment, workers are increasingly concerned that their jobs are at risk.
The option of “holding out” for a permanent job looks increasingly risky as these opportunities dwindle.
The costs of casual work are now outweighing the slim benefits in wages (and even those are not as much as they used to be).
There was enormous growth in casual employment prior to 1998.
AAP Image/Lukas Coch
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