People aged under 25 are almost six times more likely to be in temporary work than their older counterparts, according to a new study on decent work by the ESRI and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
The research entitled “Monitoring Decent Work in Ireland” finds that young people, along with Travellers, people with disabilities and East European migrants have less access to decent work as defined by the International Labour Organization.
The report identifies six key dimensions of work: access to work, adequate earnings, employee voice, security and stability of work, equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and health and safety.
It finds that Travellers experience the highest rate of unemployment at 80% – with prejudice or discrimination playing a significant role accounting for that employment gap.
The research cites the latest CSO figures suggesting that almost three in five of those aged 18-24 were unemployed in March – with the figure rising to 64% among young women.
Among that age group, as of 2019, one third were on a temporary contract, compared to 6% of over 25s.
People with disabilities also experience work disadvantage.
While the national average employment rate is 73%, among those with disabilities it falls to 41%.
The research also highlights 2016 census data revealing high unemployment rates among black and muslim respondents compared to other groups.
While 34% of the workforce are in professional or managerial jobs, only 14% of East European workers achieve such roles.
Across the general workforce just over one fifth (22%) were earning a low hourly pay defined in 2019 as below €12.16.
However, the rate of low pay soared to 60% among under-25s, 38% among Eastern European migrants, and 32% among lone parents.
One fifth of ethnic minority workers reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace, along with 14% of those with a disability, and 11% of non-Irish workers.
The average rate across the workforce was 7%. The report recommends that the Government should prioritise the quality of decent work, rather than just getting people into jobs.
The research was carried out by Frances McGinnity, Helen Russell, Ivan Privalko and Shannen Enright.
Dr McGinnity stressed that there were still important gaps in the understanding of decent work in Ireland.
“This report shows how certain groups are more likely to be occupying disadvantaged positions in paid work: younger workers, East European migrants, those with a disability, lone parents,” she said.
“Yet we still know little about informal work or unpaid work in the home in Ireland, nor can we report rates of pay and information on job quality for minority ethnic groups, including Irish Travellers.”
Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Sinead Gibney said the research shone a new light on the way people of different genders, ages, family status experience of disability and race are treated in relation to paid employment.
“Examining decent work from a rights based perspective, considering minimum standards of work, representation and non-discrimination is important to expand our understanding of the labour market, particularly how exclusion from paid work and poor-quality work are threats to realising other human rights, such as health and housing,” she added.