246 Job insecurity and perceived employability: a comparison of public and private sector

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Abstract

Introduction

Job insecurity is one of the most important work stressors related to poor health and wellbeing. On the contrary, perceived employability is considered to be a resource increasing workers’ control over working life and buffering negative outcomes of job insecurity. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between job insecurity, perceived employability and mental health among workers in public and private sector.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 1038 Croatian workers from 6 different organisations. Healthcare and public transport service workers from public sector and industrial workers from private sector were included in this research. Correlational and regression analyses have been performed in SPSS.

Results

Workers in public sector experience lower level of job insecurity and higher level of perceived employability in comparison to private sector workers. Job insecurity is related to poor mental health in both groups, while positive correlation of perceived employability and mental health was found only in public sector. Moderating effect of perceived employability on the relationship between job insecurity and mental health was found among public sector workers.

Discussion

The results have shown significant differences in experiences of job insecurity, perceived employability and their relation to workers’ mental health between sectors. In public sector, perceived employability was recognised as a moderator that can buffer the negative effects of job insecurity on mental health. This finding can have practical implications. In private sector, significantly higher level of job insecurity has been found, while there was no relationship between perceived employability and mental health. Possible explanation is that industrial workers are one of the most vulnerable groups in the labour market. On average they are less educated, dependant on their job, with fewer resources to cope job insecurity. Further investigation of other occupational groups within sectors should be conducted.

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