Labour Market Inequalities:Self-Employed Professionals in Europe and Latin America

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Renata SEMENZA, University of Milan Dept. of Social and Political Sciences, Italy
Simone SARTI, University of Milan, Dept. of Social and Political Sciences, Italy
Labour market inequalities: self-employed professionals in Europe and Latin America

Renata Semenza, Simone Sarti (University of Milan)

The paper focuses on the conditions of self-employed professionals, both in the European and Latin American labour markets, whose increase is linked to the expansion of on-demand service economy. Moving from a critic to the insider-outsider theory, this group of high-skilled self-employed, expression of post-industrial work, can be considered halfway between market and hierarchy and between strategies of HR internalization and outsourcing.

The research question, dealing with social inequalities, is whether the conditions of self-employed professionals (namely “self-employers without employees” “cuenta propia profesionales” with a high level of education and working in the qualified service sectors) are comparable than that of employees and whether the two contexts (specifically Italy and Argentina) have similar trends. From a comparative perspective we use social indicators coming from the Labour Force Survey (ISTAT for Italy; INDEC-EPH- ODSA-EDSA for Argentina). The paper presents empirical evidence related to income (as objective variable) and perception of the quality of work (as subjective variable) to measure how these two aspects -economic performance and job satisfaction- change with respect to the employment characteristics (independent variable), namely self-employed or wage-worker. Despite limitations due to comparative problems in the job classifications, the analysis seems to highlight differences in the proliferation of independent professionals in the two national contexts, arising from the dissimilar degree of expansion of the service economy and the outsourcing of specialized skills that, in Latin America is at an early stage. Moreover, in one case they retain a high level status, while in Europe there is a process of impoverishment, precarization and weak social protections.