Presentation at the WORK-conference 14.-16.8.2019, University of Turku

The research was presented at WORK-conference 14.-16.8.2019, The presentation raised many questions, which were responded by Arja Haapakorpi and Jouko Nätti.

WORK Conference 14th – 16th August 2019, University of Turku


Arja Haapakorpi

Multiple job holding – practices and institutional frame

Abstract for a presentation

Although employee contract with one employer is the most common way to earn one’s living, alternative ways have emerged with the fragmentation trends in economy and labour markets (Bamberry & Campbell 2012). However, the research-based knowledge about the theme is scarce and the studies have focused on either precarious employment (Standing 2011) or self-employment (Eurofound 2017). Precarious employment refers to short-term contracts, fragmented careers, scarce resources in negotiations on employment terms and unstable future prospects for individuals; precarious employment is related to the structure of economy for it is common in flexible sectors in economy which react quickly to cycles in economy. Self-employment may be a voluntary choice motivated by better opportunities for development, freedom of work and income, but it may also be involuntary and forced with poor employment terms. Self-employment is often related to precarious employment in studies focusing on atypical employment: one pattern of precarious employment is dependent self-employment, which is involuntary. However, the focus of this study is not theoretically and empirically identical with precarious work or self-employment, although it partly interlaces them. The focus is on multiple job holding: multiple income and employment sources, either as a salary earner or self-employed, which overlap in various ways.

Multiple job holding is related to employment and welfare policy (Saunders 2011) and legislation on employment (Quinlan 2003). Welfare systems (unemployment and pensions) do not recognize the new ways of earning one’s income, as the systems are built on the patterns of typical full-time employment contract with one employer or entrepreneurship. Work is social by nature and commitment to many parallel assignments or contracts may be weakened with multiple job holding (Guest et al. 2006). On the other hand, non-compete terms in employment contracts have become more common, which decreases the opportunities to this alternative way of earning one’s living. On the basis of the scarce studies, multiple job holding may be motivated by scarce income or professional development, but there are strong signs for much more complex and diversified (Bamberry & Campbell 2012). Instead of the traditional pattern of multiple job holding – a main employment contract and a side job – the employment and income patterns are diversified.

Our study on “Multiple job holding – practices and institutional frame 2019-2020” contributes on this theme by focusing the following perspectives: individual, occupational / professional and society. We study i) how individuals shape their careers consisting of many employment contracts or assignments, ii) how multiple job holding is carried out in different occupations / professions, and iii) how multiple job holding is related to labour markets and institutional systems, which include welfare systems.  We consider individual careers holistic, not bound to a linear mobility pattern, Individual careers and occupations are restructured with new technologies, and we assume that this is related to multiple job holding (Acemoglu & Restrepo 2018). For example, platform economy organizes with new ways of tasks or assignments, and some occupations, such as retail, may be exposed to shortened work hours (see: Sangeet 2018). Occupations and professions have different resources for guarding their positions when facing the challenges and competition of fragmented economy and labour markets, which is reflected into the patterns of multiple job holding. The third perspective, labour market and institutional systems refers to production and employment regimes and welfare systems: how multiple job holding is related to them.

Our research methodology consists of qualitative approach (interviews, narratives) and quantitative approach (register and survey data).

The researchers are Arja Haapakorpi, Jouko Nätti and Anu Järvensivu (Tampere University) and Merja Kauhanen (Labour Institute for Economic Research). The research project is funded by The Finnish Work Environment Fund and the partners.


Acemoglu, D. & Restrepo, P. (2018) Artificial intelligence, automation and work. National Bureau of Economic Research.

Bamberry, L & Campbell, I, (2012) “Multiple Job Holders in Australia: Motives and Personal Impact,” Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 38(4), pages 293-314.

Eurofound (2017). Exploring self-employment in the European Union. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. https://www.

Guest, D.E.; Oakley, P; Clinton, M. & Budjanovcanin, A. (2006) Free or precarious? A comparison of the attitudes of workers inflexible and traditional employment contracts. Human resource management review 16, 107-124.

Quinlan, M. (2003) Flexible Work and Organisational Arrangements – Regulatory Problems and Responses. National Research Centre for OHS-regulation. Paper 16. Australian National University.

Sangeet, P. C. (2018) The architecture of digital labour platforms: Policy recommendations on platform design for worker well-being. ilo future of work research paper series 3. International Labour Organization 2018 First published 2018.—dgreports/—cabinet/documents/publication/wcms_630603.pdf

Saunders, P. (2011) Down and Out: Poverty and Social Exclusion in Australia. The Economic and Labour Relations Review. Bristor, UK: The Polity Press