Examining the impact of two dimensions of precarious employment, vulnerability and insecurity on the self-reported health of men, women and migrants in Australia
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Precarious employment is increasing and adversely affects health. We aimed to investigate how perception of precariousness in current employment impacts gender and migrant workers in Australia. Using cross-sectional interviews of 1292 workers born in Australia, New Zealand, India and the Philippines, data were collected on self-reported health, employment conditions and sociodemographics. Factor analysis of nine questions about perceptions of current employment revealed two dimensions, vulnerability and insecurity. Women had higher vulnerability scores (µ = 6.5 vs. µ = 5.5, t = 5.40, p-value (p) < 0.000) but lower insecurity scores (µ = 8.6 vs. µ = 9.3 t = −4.160 p < 0.0003) than men. Filipino-born workers had higher vulnerability compared with other migrant workers (µ = 6.5 vs. µ = 5.8 t = −3.47 p < 0.0003), and workers born in India had higher insecurity compared with other migrant workers (µ = 9.8 vs. µ = 8.9, t = −6.1 p < 0.0001). While the prevalence of insecurity varied by migrant status, the negative effect on health was higher for Australian-born workers than migrants. Increasing levels of vulnerability and insecurity impacted self-reported health negatively (Coefficient (Coef).0.34 p < 0.0001; Coef.0.25 p < 0.0001, respectively). The combination of high vulnerability and high insecurity had the greatest impact on health (Coef. 2.37 p = 0.002), followed by high vulnerability and moderate insecurity (Coef. 2.0 p = 0.007). Our study suggests that understanding both changes in employment conditions over time as well as knowledge of cultural patterns may offer the best chance of understanding the impact of precarious employment experiences.
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