A Comparison between Consequences of Three Forms of Early Job Insecurity across Education Groups

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Periodic economic instabilities and structural changes in the labour market have given rise to a variety of forms of job insecurity. This article compares the scarring effects of different forms of job insecurity in regard to later employment chances, and how they vary across education groups. Using a sample of real vacancies and data collected in a vignette experiment with employers in Switzerland, a country with a strongly developed VET system, this article investigates how employers evaluate a spell of unemployment, job hopping and work experience in deskilling jobs when hiring candidates. The findings reveal that work in deskilling jobs is by far more scarring than unemployment or job hopping. The study also demonstrates that applicants with an upper secondary vocational education are impacted the strongest by all three forms of job insecurity. The findings suggest that once VET graduates experience a hampered career start, they might risk long-term consequences.

Lulu is a departmental lecturer at the Department of Education, Oxford University. She leads a project funded by the British Academy, which investigates how educational technology (EdTech) transforms education. Specifically, the project studies the role of EdTech firms ¬– who can be seen as the architects behind the technology – in shaping education by considering the socio-political contexts they are embedded in.
During her doctoral studies, she researched on the labour market, skills formation systems and organisation studies with a country comparative focus.
Lulu teaches the MSc programme Digital and Social Change and supervises MSc students, focusing on technology and society.