Giovanna Viviani

On the Italian irregular workers. How have job career paths changed?

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In this paper I examine how irregular work can affect the employment career chances. Using the Italian Longitudinal Household Survey to approach this question I first study the sequence of job career trajectories within the first five years, then the exit from irregular work and their changes over time. I find that irregular jobs give serious limit to the career prospects for the majority of people and entrap them in precarious careers for long periods. This happen especially for the less qualified and people living in the South. For women it increases the prospect to go out of the labour market being unemployed or inactive. One third of the sample shows a positive occupational destination. Success in the irregular employment tends to favour men, and workers with higher levels of education and living in the Centre-North part of the country. They are more likely to be able to use the irregular experience as a fast port of entry to regular employment. Results give no evidence of change across cohorts on the distribution of the typical trajectories outlined in the first five years on the labour market. Across time longlasting job pattern prevails. An examination of transitions out of irregular work using event history analysis shows that the previous work experience in the regular market does not help people to find a regular job, neither the youngest. What it seems very important in this successful transition, especially for the most recent entry cohorts, is having a lot of job to job mobility. Empirical findings show doubts on the effectiveness of the ongoing process of labour market flexibilization on the incorporation of irregular employment. Deregulation has not encouraged irregular workers to match regular occupations and actually it increases the chances to go into another spell of irregular work.

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