Job Insecurity Increases Risk of Premature Death by 20%, Swedish Study Reveals


Acute insecurity in employment hikes up the risk of premature death by 20%, as put forth by a fresh study conducted by Swedish researchers. The investigation, brought out in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community, uncovers that jobs marked by fleeting contracts, low pay, and inadequate predictability, influence, and security factor significantly into early mortality risks.

Nuria Matilla-Santander, the main author of the study, affirmed that these findings form a crucial entryway to strategies aimed at averting the high rates of mortality in the workforce. Matilla-Santander, who is also an assistant professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, emphasized the possibility of diminishing the instance of untimely deaths by addressing the instability rampant in the job market.

For the study, Matilla-Santander and her team sourced registry data from 2005 to 2017 involving over 250,000 workers in Sweden, aged between 20 to 55 years. The study encompassed individuals who transitioned from insecure to secure job positions, and those who remained in unstable employment.

According to Matilla-Satander, the vast dataset enabled them to account for several other factors potentially leading to early death beyond unstable employment. These include age, significant life stresses like a divorce, and prevalent diseases among workers. She confidently argued that the higher mortality rates are primarily due to insecure job circumstances rather than personal elements.

The study highlighted that individuals transitioning from insecure to secure employment exhibited a 20% reduced risk of premature death. This held true regardless of subsequent events, with those staying in stable employment for 12 years witnessing a 30% dip in mortality risk, in stark contrast with those in persistent precarious employment.

The study Ably put by co-author Theo Bodin, is unprecedented in its revelation that a move from an uncertain to a secured job can impact the risk of early death. He further stressed the increased risk in case of continual employment in non-steady jobs.

This research reinforces the efforts of global scholars striving to untangle the threads connecting precarious employment to the well-being of workers. Earlier international studies, such as a Finnish investigation in 2003 and a French study in 2013, have touched upon the mortality risks associated with temporary employment. A similar U.S. study conducted in 2019 established links between unstable income and general mortality rates.

Although Matilla-Santander’s study doesn’t pinpoint the exact mechanics of how job insecurity contributes to early mortality, it conjectures potential reasons. Workers in uncertain job scenarios might grapple with economic instability, deprivation, chronic stress, and harmful or inferior work conditions. She anticipates the next phase of their research would delve deeper into these possible explanations.


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