Low-Income and Low-Skilled Workers Involvement in Nonstandard Employment. Job Satisfaction


As Table 2.9 shows, in 1997, independent contractors, on-call workers, and agency temporaries reported vastly different reasons for their decision to work in alternative arrangements. Independent contractors were much more likely to cite personal reasons(33) (76 percent) over economic reasons(34) (9 percent). Among independent contractors working in an alternative arrangement for a personal reason, flexibility of schedule was the most commonly cited reason. On-call workers were split nearly evenly between personal reasons (41 percent) and economic reasons (39 percent). Of on-call workers citing economic reasons, most said it was the only type of work they could find while those citing personal reasons most often cited flexibility of schedule as the primary reason. Agency temporaries, on the other hand, were more than twice as likely to cite economic reasons (60 percent) as they were to cite personal reasons (29 percent). Temporary workers most often said that this was the only type of work they could find and that they hoped this job leads to a permanent position.(35)

Table 2.9
Percentage of Employed Workers with Alternative Work Arrangements by
Reason for Arrangement, February 1997
Reason Independent Contractors On-Call Workers Temporary Help Agency Workers
Total, 16 years and over (in thousands) 8,456 1,996 1,300
Percent 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Economic reason

9.4% 40.7% 59.6%
Only type of work I could find 2.7% 27.1% 34.6%
Hope job leads to permanent employment 0.7% 5.3% 17.7%
Other economic reason 6.0% 8.3% 7.2%

Personal reason

76.0% 39.4% 29.3%
Flexibility of schedule 23.6% 22.4% 16.1%
Family or personal obligations 3.9% 6.0% 2.4%
In school or training 0.6% 6.4% 4.5%
Other personal reason 48.0% 4.6% 6.4%

Reason not available

14.6% 19.9% 11.1%
Source: Cohany 1998.
Note: Information for contract workers was not available.