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Non-standard Employment from the Social Exclusion Perspective

* This paper is an English translation of a paper originally released in Korean in the Quarterly Journal of Labor Policy(2007 Vol. 7, Issue 1, pp. 1-22) published by the Korea Labor Institute in March 2007.


This study aimed to empirically analyze the issue of non-standard employment from the theoretical concept of “social exclusion.” First, in order to discuss if non-standard employment is operating as a mechanism of social exclusion, the study explored the possibility of movement in labor market status between standard and non-standard jobs. An analysis of 8-year-long Korean Labor and Income Panel Study(KLIPS) revealed that it was not easy to move between standard and non-standard jobs and that, once workers get non-standard jobs, they find it very difficult to later enter the standard workforce. Second, the study examined whether non-standard employment entails low-income and poor working conditions and the proportion of non-standard workers slipping into the working poor class because of this factor. As expected, non-standard workers and their households were more likely to belong to the low-income class and less likely to benefit from social insurance schemes. Based on these two analyses, the study concluded that non-standard employment in Korea is an exclusionary mechanism of the labor market and, furthermore, likely to function as a means of social exclusion. In addition, this study looked at the type of people trapped in non-standard employment and who are at risk of social exclusion. Non-standard employment is not a process randomly allotted to all workers. That is, the likelihood of getting non-standard employment differs on the basis of a worker’s personal characteristics, such as gender, age, and educational background. It was found that older women with little education were more likely to fall into the trap of long-term non-standard employment.
Key words: Non-standard employment, social exclusion, labor market transition

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