The Disturbing Rise of Precarious Work
Indirect, temporary or short term jobs are growing and begin to replace direct and permanent jobs. Precarious work affects more than 60% of workers worldwide (Fig. ILO). And it is widely accepted that less than 20% of workers are in permanent jobs in regions such as South-Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The precariousness of employment is also rising in Europe because of the explosion of minor jobs created in particular in the sector of services. One only needs to look at the multitude of cyclists who deliver meals in our big cities. The UK in particular, is confronted with a clear increase in "atypical" work contracts. In fact, 7 million Britons are in precarious employment. And what can be said about the "zero-hours" contracts: they do not guarantee any minimum of working time in a month. Yet, these contracts already represent 3% of total employment in the UK. Such contracts are also growing significantly in Austria and in many other European countries. More generally, self-employment dramatically increased and now involves more than 15% of jobs in the UK and more than 10% in France. These people many of whom work in the services sector are denied both a minimum wage and sick leave days. And of course, their employers are not subject to social contributions. But, naturally lower incomes contribute to poverty. And the lack of job security and a very limited social protection leave an increasing part of the population vulnerable. So the reality is that precarious work is spreading fast and is here to stay. But in the mean time precarious work also emerged as a serious social issue. It is therefore imperative to take steps to improve the protection of workers who are trapped in insecure jobs.