Public service employment & security
Previous NERI research has highlighted the pervasiveness of precarious employment practices across public services in Northern Ireland (Wilson, 2017). This finding came at somewhat of a surprise given that jobs to deliver public services have traditionally been associated as offering secure and decent-paid employment.
Further scrutiny of these findings shows that insecure work is concentrated in the education and health and social work sectors. Within these sectors the evidence shows that insecure work dominates between professional occupations and caring, leisure and other service occupations.
Evidence of the extent of insecure work in the public sector would appear to represent the increasing use of contract and agency staff employed on Supply or Locum contracts. This has been encouraged by public sector cuts and a politics of austerity which has encouraged the increasing reliance on insecure workers in attempts to cut costs.