Perceptions of job security in Australia

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 16/02

Date: September 2002


Jeff Borland


This study examines workers' perceptions of job security in Australia between August 1999 and May 2002. It uses a new quarterly survey that asks probabilistic questions on the likelihood of involuntary job loss, and of finding a similar job if involuntary job loss occurs. Workers' perceptions of job security are shown to display significant variation by gender, age, education, and recent job mobility, to vary pro-cyclically with business cycle conditions, and to have decreased significantly from late 2001 onwards - in the period following September 11 and several major corporate collapses in Australia. A comparison with perceptions of job security in the United States finds that there is a cross-country difference in perceptions about the probability of involuntary job loss that appears correlated with the institutional environment in those countries. Finally, there is some evidence that workers' expectations about the environment for making major household expenditure are related to their perceptions of job security.

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