London: A recent study has issued a warning that being in precarious or unstable employment conditions can elevate the risk of premature death. It emphasizes that individuals lacking secure job positions can potentially decrease their likelihood of early death by 20 percent if they transition to permanent employment.
The term “precarious employment” denotes jobs characterized by short-term contracts, meagre wages, limited influence, and insufficient rights, all of which contribute to a work life marked by unpredictability and insecurity.
Conducted by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Reports, the study underscores the need for improvements in job security within the labor market.
Theo Bodin, an assistant professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, highlighted the significance of the study, stating, “This is the first study to demonstrate that switching from precarious employment to secure employment can mitigate the risk of death. It’s equivalent to saying that the risk of premature death is higher for those who persist in jobs lacking secure employment contracts.”
The researchers analyzed registry data from over 250,000 workers aged 20 to 55 in Sweden, collected from 2005 to 2017. The study encompassed individuals who initially held insecure job positions and later transitioned to secure employment conditions.
Those who made the shift from precarious to secure employment experienced a 20 percent lower risk of death, irrespective of subsequent developments, in contrast to those who remained in precarious employment. Moreover, if they remained in secure employment for 12 years, the risk of death decreased by 30 percent.
Nuria Matilla-Santander, the study’s first author and an assistant professor, noted, “Leveraging this extensive population database enabled us to account for numerous factors that could influence mortality, such as age, other health conditions workers may face, or life events like divorce.”
The results are particularly noteworthy as they indicate that the increased mortality rates observed in workers can be prevented.