What is it about?
Precarious employment is an employment condition where the risk of job loss is high, pay is inadequate, workers’ protection and control over working conditions is insufficient, and workers suffer from poverty and inequality. Employment patterns that fall into this category are on the rise and are commonly those that deviate from standard full-time employment, carried out in a fixed organisation during daytime hours (e.g. 9 to 5 jobs). Some of the factors that support more flexible, non-standard employment patterns are the changing global economy and the perception of good work-life balance. However, because of their vulnerability, immigrants may instead be exploited and experience significant negative health outcomes. This is an area that requires in-depth study, and is especially important now because of the current and expected changes that the global pandemic has made to how we work. With this research, we want to draw attention towards more vulnerable members of our society and ask the question of how they experience precarious employment and how it affects their health and wellbeing. To achieve this, we conducted a systematic review of research articles published after 2008. We collated and screened 1577 articles from 7 databases using a predetermined criteria. We found 5 studies that described the experiences of UK immigrants in precarious employment with varying effects on health and wellbeing. All included studies reported negative outcomes on physical and mental health including pain, exhaustion, anxiety and depression. Communication difficulties (due to language barrier) and overqualification were some of the factors influencing health outcomes in immigrants. Interestingly, some immigrants reported improvements in wellbeing which was dependent their pre-migration experience. Our findings indicate that there are “immigrant specific” factors that influence their experience of precarious employment and how this affects their health. However, given the small number of studies included in our review and the focus on UK immigrants, we cannot generalize our findings. There is a clear need for empirical research to better understand the political, policy and legal factors that contribute to the culture of exploitation in employment and delineate effective intervention measures targeted at immigrants.
Photo by Cindy Tang on Unsplash
Why is it important?
This is an area that requires in-depth study, and is especially important and timely because of the current and expected changes that the global pandemic has made to how we work. With this research, we want to draw attention towards more vulnerable members of our society and ask the question of how they experience precarious employment and how it affects their health and wellbeing.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: The impact of precarious employment on the health and wellbeing of UK immigrants: a systematic review, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, October 2020, Policy Press, DOI: 10.1332/175982720x15971673526089.
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