The effects of non-standard employment on subjective well-being

A meta-analytic review




non-standard employment, subjective well-being, meta-analysis, precarious employment, contingent work


The aim of this review was to address the inconsistency in previous research, on the effect of non-standard employments on subjective well-being, with the use of meta-analysis. This was done by examining the standardised mean difference in global subjective well-being, or whole life well-being, between employees in non-standard employment and permanent employment. The scientific databases Web of Science, Scopus and EBSCOhost were systematically searched for studies on the connection between non-standard employment and subjective well-being. From the initial 1307 results of the systematic literature search, we identified 33 relevant primary studies published since 2004 in a variety of countries throughout the world. Meta-analytic results from a total of 55 independent effect sizes (N = 476454) suggest that employees in non-standard employment experience lower global subjective well-being (d = -0.054) compared to employees in permanent employment. Moderator analyses indicate that if primary studies control for subjective job insecurity or employability, it will remove the statistically significant effect of global subjective well-being between employees in non-standard employment and permanent, resulting in d = -0.054 to d = 0.008 and d = 0.01, respectively. We can therefore conclude that non-standard employments do have a statistical significant small negative effect on global subjective well-being. However, evidence suggest that the negative effect is more due to the subjective perception of job insecurity and employability rather than the objective condition of non-standard employment.