Non-Standard jobs pose risk to firms
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July 30, 2017

Firms that rely on non-standard or fixed term employment risk losing quality human resource.

According to an International Labour Organisation (ILO) Report on “Non-Standard employment around the world,” an over-reliance on Non-Standard Employment (NSE) could lead to a gradual erosion of firm-specific skills in the organization, limiting its ability to respond to changing market demand.

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Non-standard forms of employment – including temporary work, fixed term contract, part-time work, temporary agency work and other multi-party employment arrangements, disguised employment relationships and dependent self-employment – have become a contemporary feature of labour markets the world over, with implications for both employers and workers.

In Ghana and other developing countries, organized labour continue to campaign against the increasing use of non-standard jobs, citing its adverse implications for workers, especially  regarding job security and collective bargaining rights.

Although firms may derive some short-term cost and flexibility gains from using NSE, the report reveals that that, in the long run, these gains may be outweighed by productivity losses.

“There is evidence that firms that use NSE more, tend to under invest in training, both for temporary and permanent employees, as well as in productivity-enhancing technologies and innovation,” the report noted.

It recommended that firms that rely heavily on NSE need to adapt their human resource strategies from training and development of in-house employees to identifying the sets of skills that the firm needs to buy from the market.

On implications for labour markets and society, the report indicates that widespread use of NSE may reinforce labour market segmentation and lead to greater volatility in employment with consequences for economic stability.

“Research shows that for temporary and on-call workers, it is more difficult to get access to credit and housing, leading to delays in starting a family,” it added.

Recently, the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) expressed grave concern about what it described as “alarming rate” at which businesses are adopting non-standard forms of employment, which threatens the welfare of workers.

Describing it as a threat to workers’ welfare, the Union remained unhappy with the increasing   non-standard jobs such as casual work, outsourcing and short-term employment contracts.

A statement issued by the TUC after its General Council meeting in Accra a few weeks ago for a mid-year review of the socio-economic and political situation in Ghana, said “these practices should not be allowed to continue.”

“Increasingly, workers are being hired on short-term contract basis by third party employment agencies. Those employed are mostly young and unskilled.

“Some of these agencies are taking advantage of the weak labour administration institutions to abuse the rights of these young and vulnerable workers,” said the statement signed by Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary General of TUC.

By Nii Adotey/