Monday, May 23, 2022

The precariat?

Via Marginal Revolution, this economics paper abstract: 
There is a widespread belief that work is less secure than in the past, that an increasing share of workers are part of the “pprecariat”. It is hard to find much evidence for this in objective measures of job security, but perhaps subjective measures show different trends. This paper shows that in the US, UK, and Germany workers feel as secure as they ever have in the last thirty years. This is partly because job insecurity is very cyclical and (pre-COVID) unemployment rates very low, but there is also no clear underlying trend towards increased subjective measures of job insecurity. This conclusion seems robust to controlling for the changing mix of the labor force, and is true for specific sub-sets of workers. 
It would be fascinating to get a chemistry-specific measurement of worker-perceived precarity in chemistry, either firm-specific or field-specific. I imagine that workers of the last 20 years have felt more precarious (especially between 2003-2015 or so). I suspect we're at a relative global minima in "chemist-perceived precarity", but we shall see... 

1 comment:

  1. I think the feelings of precarity for polymer chemists are probably at an all time low due a narrow definition of what the chemical industry wants in a new hire.

    Over the past 10 years I have seen R&D teams decrease in overall size to where they are now: emaciated efficiency.

    The problem with operating with such lean teams is that the people who remain is likely doing more than their original job description. The synthetic chemists (polymer or otherwise) who are somehow now responsible for keeping an HPLC, GC, GPC, or any other piece of analytical equipment up and running for everyone else knows what I mean.

    Any person who leaves creates more burden on the next person and that person's job is even more secure. Then, add in picky managers who want to rehire someone at the level of the person who left and who doesn't need visa sponsorship? Definitely secure, at least for now.


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