The University of Edinburgh -

Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe

REC-WP 14 / 10

Employment insecurity of European individuals during the financial crisis. A multi-level approach

Heejung Chung and Wim van Oorschot

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The concept of Flexicurity has been receiving much attention as the European social model. One of the most important concepts within the flexicurity approach is employment security, the security of having secure and continuous employment career, which may entail changing employers and jobs. How do European individuals subjectively perceive their employment security? In addition, which individual characteristics can explain for feeling employment insecurity? Are there differences found across countries, and why is this the case? In this paper, we examine the various individual as well as national level characteristics that can explain individuals’ perception of their employment security. To do this we use a multi-level model, where contextual effects are taken into account and individuals are considered to be embedded in countries. The data used for analysis is the 4th wave of the European Social Survey for 22 countries for the year 2008/2009. We find that various individual level characteristics such as demographic, human and social capital, as well as attitude variables explain why an individual feels employment insecure. At the country level, it seems that labour market and economic situations are more important than institutions in explaining the cross-national variance of employment insecurity perceptions.


Employment security, role of institutions, subjective perception, multilevel study, cross-European study