Half of young workers on non-standard contracts

NYCI deputy director James Doorley

Almost half of those aged 18 to 29 are working on non-standard contracts, prompting calls for more efforts to provide greater job security for millennials.

The Red C poll was commissioned by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) and found 47% of young people aged 18-29 are on non standard contracts, meaning they do not have the same full-time hours each week.

The survey also found 38% of people in the same age category are on temporary contracts, while 34% are in part-time work and 30% are in employment where the hours vary from week to week.

The NYCI stressed that this was not an accumulative figure and that instead there was an overlap between young people in employment which is temporary, part-time and have weekly variable hours that vary from week to week.

NYCI deputy director James Doorley said the uncertainty over job security affected young people in seeking personal loans or trying to further their careers or other opportunities.

“This survey finds that a significant proportion of young people in work are in precarious employment, which creates financial uncertainty and impacts on their personal and family life,” he said.

“Too many young people are struggling to find work that gives them a decent salary and quality of life. Government must tackle issues around low pay, temporary employment and ‘if and when contracts’.”

The poll, based on 404 interviews with young people, also found that precarious employment was much more prevalent among young people from lower socio-economic groups and among those outside Dublin.

The findings and related issues will be discussed today at a seminar on precarious work for young people entitled ‘Republic of Opportunity or State of Insecurity?’ in Dublin.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently signalled that the Government would seek to regulate ‘if and when’ contracts and low-hour contracts, but Mr Doorley said those attending the seminar today would look for additional solutions.

Mr Doorley said: “38% of respondents are on a temporary contract, so they have no short or medium term job or financial security. As just one example of how this is affecting millennials, this would make it difficult for them to take out a personal loan. ‘If and when’ contracts have wide ranging impacts on family, social and educational opportunities.

“The data shows that younger people under 25 that are recent entrants to the labour market are more likely to be on a temporary contract. However, even among the 25- to 29-year-old age cohort over a third are on temporary contracts, meaning that this is a situation affecting all young people right up the age ranges.”

The poll also found almost three-quarters of those on temporary contracts were only on such contracts as they had no other option, indicating that the vast majority of young workers do not favour these contracts.

More than seven out of 10 respondents agreed that these contracts create a lot of financial uncertainty and almost two-thirds of respondents agreed that they make it difficult to plan personal and family life.

However, a similar proportion of respondents say they expect their job prospects to improve in future.


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