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Almost half of millennials on non-standard contracts Particular concern over the one-third of young people in precarious work

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 07:30

Youth Council calls on Government to provide comprehensive strategy to tackle low quality and precarious work, ahead of precarious work seminar ‘Republic of Opportunity or State of Insecurity?’

A new Red C poll commissioned by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people - has found that 47% of young people aged 18-29 are on non standard contracts (i.e. do not have full time hours that are the same each week). Furthermore, 38% of young people aged 18-29 are on temporary contracts, 34% are in part time work and 30% are in employment where the hours vary from week to week. (Note: this not an accumulative figure – there is an overlap between young people in employment which is temporary, part time and have hours that vary from week to week).

Commenting on the figures James Doorley, NYCI Deputy Director said: “This survey finds that a significant proportion of young people in work are in precarious employment, which creates financial uncertainty and impacts on their personal and family life.”

These new figures have been published ahead of a seminar on precarious work for young people entitled “Republic of Opportunity or State of Insecurity?” taking place in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin today (24.10.17). The event organised by the NYCI brings together think tanks, academia, the trade union movement, labour market specialists and the youth sector to explore precarious employment and work quality. It will focus on exploring current data, trends and developments, and will also explore potential solutions.

Speaking ahead of the event Mr Doorley said: “Too many young people are struggling to find work that gives them a decent salary and quality of life. Government must tackle issues around low pay, temporary employment and ‘if and when contracts’.

Legislation welcome but more needed

“We welcome the recent announcement by an Taoiseach to regulate ‘if and when’ contracts and low hour contracts, but legislation alone will not be enough to address this issue. Our seminar will seek to highlight what more needs to be done in practical terms.”

Precarity even at age 29

Speaking further on the new figures Mr Doorley explained:

“38% of respondents are on a temporary contract, so they have no short or medium term job or financial security. As just one example of how this is affecting millennials, this would make it difficult for them to take out a personal loan. ‘If and when’ contracts have wide ranging impacts on family, social and educational opportunities. 

“The data shows that younger people under 25 that are recent entrants to the labour market are more likely to be on a temporary contract. However, even among the 25-29 year old age cohort over a third are on temporary contracts, meaning that this is a situation affecting all young people right up the age ranges,” added Mr Doorley.

Rural and class divide

Another point of note is that precarious employment much more prevalent among young people from lower socio-economic groups and those outside Dublin.

CONTACT: Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI 087 781 4903

Notes to Editors:

- see agenda &download speaker presentations here for “Republic of Opportunity or State of Insecurity?” seminar -

Poll Methodology:
404 interviews were conducted online using Red C’s online panel Red C Live among those aged 18-29 years. Interviewing was conducted during 15th-23rd February 2017. The results outlined above are based on the 286 respondents who were working full or part time. Quotas were set to the known demographic profile of those aged 18-29 years living in Ireland based on CSO data. Of those interviewed 51% were female and 49% were male. 57% were classified as being from the ABC1 social demographic group with 42% classed as belonging to the C2DE social demographic group. In terms of age breakdown, 23% were aged 18-20 years, 23% were aged 21-23 years, 25% were aged 24-26 years and 29% were aged 27-29 years. The margin of error in the results is +/- 4.9%.



National Youth Council of Ireland

NYCI is the umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.

Republic of Opportunity or State of Insecurity?
NYCI Seminar on Precarious Work for Young People

Trinity Suite, Gresham Hotel, Dublin | 9:30-2pm Tuesday October 24th 2017


9:30-10am Registration and Networking Tea/Coffee

10am-10:10 Opening remarks by Marie-Claire McAleer, Chairperson of seminar

10:10-10:30 Presentation of the NYCI RedC Poll findings by James Doorley, Deputy Director, NYCI

10:30-10:50 Presentation by Ciaran Nugent, Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) on prevalence of temporary employment among young workers

10:50-11:10 Presentation from Dave Curran, SIPTU on Trade Union perspective

11:10-11:20 Questions and Comments

11:20-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-11:50 Presentation, Dr Joseph Moran, Waterford Institute of Technology “One young man’s encounter with precarious employment: A story from the South-East of Ireland”

11:50-12:10 Presentation of research on precarious work by TASC, by Dr Sinead Pembroke

12:10-12:30 Presentation of paper prepared for NYCI in 2016 by Dr John Sweeney entitled “Job Creation and Job Quality in Ireland: an Exploration of the Policy Issues”

12:30-1:30 Discussion on presentations and recent developments and proposals to address precarious work in Ireland.

1:30-2pm Light Lunch will be served