Fragmented labour markets in affluent societies

Examples from Germany and the Netherlands

Bekker S. and Leschke J.

OSE Paper Series, Research Paper No.48, June 2021, 48p.

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The employment and social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have been more severe for some groups of workers such as low-wage workers and workers in non-standard employment. The concept of ‘fragmented labour markets’ highlights the large and growing diversity in employment relationships. Fragmented labour markets are defined as labour markets characterised by an accumulation of insecurities. Fragmentation is evident where workers combine non-standard employment with low wages or where they combine several forms of non-standard employment − situations that are dominant in particular occupational groups. 
This OSE Research paper applies the concept to two affluent countries – Germany and the Netherlands – and highlights vulnerability in occupations such as personal care and cleaning, particularly among women. This demonstrates the importance of relating the impact of the crisis on jobs, income and social security to the degree of job stability and level of earnings of workers prior to the crisis.

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