"Just a Job?" An Assessment of Precarious Employment Trajectories by Gender Among Young People in the U.S
Advances in Social Work
Precarious employment is on the rise in the United States. Research suggests that young workers are more likely than older workers to be in precarious work. Yet much remains unknown regarding the precarious nature of employment experienced by young workers, despite evidence of the importance of this period for long-term employment opportunities. To address this gap in knowledge, this study used a nationally-representative, longitudinal dataset to create a multi-dimensional measure of precarious
... asure of precarious employment, and assessed precarious employment trajectories over time for young women and men. Findings revealed that, while there were significant shifts in levels of precarity over time for both males and females, patterns differed by gender. Overall, higher percentages of females than males remained concentrated at the semi-precarious level over time—meaning that they did not move further into or out of precarious employment—while higher percentages of males became either much more precarious or much less precarious over time. These findings challenge the common assumption that young people generally move out of low-wage or otherwise "bad" jobs over time, and suggest that there is a need for additional attention to gendered patterns in job quality among young people. Social workers have an important role to play in helping young people enter non-precarious jobs, and in engaging in advocacy to improve the quality of jobs available.