Background Worldwide macro-economic changes influenced the labour markets in industrialized countries in the '70-ies. These changes among others increased labour market segmentation; which up to today occurs in contemporary 'Western' labour markets. The labour market, today, is segmented into primary jobs with a high quality of work (QOW) and secondary jobs where the QOW is worse. QOW is defined in terms of the related quality of employment (QOE) and intrinsic job characteristics. Not only acquired social positions, like education, are important to allocate employees in the segmented labour market, ascribed social positions like immigrant status and gender are evenly important in that regard. Consequently women and immigrants are more often employed on the secondary labour market. Although heterogeneity exists in the immigrant group. First, immigration from poor, (semi-)periphery countries to high income core countries is often forced as a result of imbalance between these countries what makes (semi-) periphery immigrants arriving in a subordinate position. This does not count for core immigrants. Therefore differences in their labour market situation is expected. Immigrant women are expected to encounter a double disadvantage in terms of QOW both as women and as immigrant. Because QOW is related to work-related health and safety (WHS) we expect an interaction between ethnicity and gender for what concerns WHS. The existence of this double disadvantage is not often investigated in health research but may be of particular interest for the study of occupational health and safety among immigrants. Objective This study will assess how different immigrant groups and natives differ in terms of WHS with special attention for the intersection between country of birth and gender. Further we will study the effect of QOW and education on this relation. Methods Pooled data from the 'European social survey 2004 and 2010'(ESS) are used. Only EU-15 countries are included. Immigrants are defined as those born in another country then where they live and differentiation is made between immigrants from core and (semi-)periphery countries based on the world bank definition of high income (core), upper-middle income, lower-middle-income and low-income economies (semi-)periphery)). The quality of work is measured through a distinction between the QOE and intrinsic job characteristics. For the QOE we use the seven dimension- definition of Benach et. al. (1) employment stability, (2) material rewards from employment, (3) Rights and social security benefits - Erosion of workers' rights, (4) working time arrangements, (5) Employability opportunities, (6) collective organisation and (7) interpersonal power relations. Intrinsic job characteristics are assessed trough the demand-control-support model of Karasek et al. (1998). Another variable is the education level (high/low). The outcome measure is a self-perceived indicator assessing the extent that people feel that their health is at risk as consequence of their work. Descriptive analyses (cross tabulations) and logistic regression analyses are performed with SPSS. Results We did separate analyses according to gender and compared immigrants (core & (semi-)periphery) in both groups. Among men no significant differences were found between natives and core immigrants for what concerns WHS, QOE, intrinsic job characteristics, and education. (Semi-)periphery immigrants do not indicate more WHS risk, but in terms of QOE they have more often contracts of limited duration, insufficient income, involuntary part-time, low training opportunities, low labour union membership, low influence over policy decision in the company. Concerning intrinsic job characteristics they indicate more often low autonomy, skill discretion and support. As regards education level they are more often low educated. After the logistic regression analyses it seemed that immigrant men had significantly more WHS risk compared to natives but those differences disappeared and did not remain significant after controlling for QOE, intrinsic job characteristics and education level. Among women no significant differences in WHS were found between core immigrants and natives. Between natives and(semi-)periphery immigrants significant differences were found. In terms of QOE core immigrants only significantly differ from natives concerning of trade union membership. (Semi-)periphery immigrants indicate more having a contract of limited duration, insufficient income, working in an involuntary part-time job, low training opportunities and low influence on policy decisions. For the intrinsic job characteristics core immigrants indicate higher psychosocial demands. (Semi-)periphery immigrants have more often low autonomy, skill discretion and support in their job. Both immigrant groups where not significantly different in terms of education level. The logistic regression analyses shows no significant WHS risk between natives and core immigrants but increased risk for (semi-)periphery immigrants compared to natives. Those differences stay uphold and significant after controlling for QOE, intrinsic job characteristics and education. Conclusion The main findings of this study are that differences in WHS risk exist between (semi-)periphery immigrants and natives in EU-15. Mainly (semi-)periphery immigrant women seem vulnerable in terms of WHS also when adjusted for QOE, intrinsic work characteristics and education. It is important to approach immigrant research in the intersection with gender and country of birth to uncover the greatest vulnerabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaper presented at the 2nd Special Interest Meeting on Comparative research in health sociology and social epidemiology in European Societies
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Event2nd Special Interest Meeting on Comparative research in health sociology and social epidemiology in European Societies - Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 20 Jun 201321 Jun 2013


Conference2nd Special Interest Meeting on Comparative research in health sociology and social epidemiology in European Societies

    Research areas

  • Immigrants, Quality of work, work-related health and safety risk, gender, intersectionality

ID: 2387078