Working Part-Time: Risks and Opportunities

Working Part-Time: Risks and Opportunities

Working Part-Time: Risks and Opportunities

Working Part-Time: Risks and Opportunities

Synopsis

Working Part-Time discusses the opportunities and risks in employment which is sometimes underpaid and devalued and from which movement to full-time positions is often difficult. It represents the work of a cross-section of specialists in labor economics, industrial relations specialists, and social scientists who are engaged in research on the transformation of work in Canada, the U.S., and Great Britain. Chapters focus on the structural aspects of part-time work, conditions under which such work is performed, constraints imposed on employers by official agencies, and expectations and attitudes of part-time workers rooted in a particular society.

Excerpt

In recent decades, there has been a remarkable expansion of part-time employment in advanced capitalist societies. It has occurred in conjunction with rapid technological change, heightened economic competition on an international scale, industrial restructuring, and a pronounced shift in the relative importance of the goods-producing and service sectors of the economy. It has also coincided with alterations in the gender and age composition of the work force, and changes in attitudes toward the appropriate division of time between paid work and other activities.

Improved statistical monitoring and research have provided an increasingly clear picture of the extent of part-time jobs, their sectoral and occupational distribution, their nature, and the characteristics of part- time workers. What is less clear is the way in which economic, social and political forces have interacted to produce so many marginal jobs, typically low-paid, with few or no fringe benefits, no security, and with few opportunities for advancement. Still less clear is how these forces have interacted to determine who hold these jobs. Why are women and minorities overrepresented among part-time workers? If the attributes of these jobs were to be improved, what would the part-time work force look like, and how would its size be affected?

The chapters in this volume confront the complex picture that part- time work presents and attempt to provide a better understanding of the risks and opportunities it entails for individuals and for specific populations. On the one hand, part-time work reflects and contributes to a polarization of the workforce, consigning growing numbers of people to a state of economic insecurity from which there are few avenues . . .

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