Perceived job insecurity and entry into work-related education and training among adult workers
Stratification research focuses on the relationship between educational background and the work career. However, few studies have examined the extended educational career beyond young adulthood and its relationship to workers' labor market experiences, especially their concerns about job loss. We attach the 1995 Adult Education Data File to Bureau of Labor Statistics data to examine the structural conditions under which adult workers (ages 35-61) perceive their jobs to be insecure. We then examine whether concerns about job loss motivate adult workers to participate in further education, after controlling for the already established effects of human capital, contemporaneous life course roles, minority status, and other labor market conditions. We find that the perceived job insecurity of both advantaged and disadvantaged categories of workers are affected by labor market factors, but in different ways. On the one hand, ethnic minorities, union members, workers without employee benefits, and workers in restructuring sectors are explicitly more concerned about job insecurity. On the other hand, workers in once-advantaged stratification categories demarcated by higher education, more job experience, gender (male), and seniority (age) do not perceive significantly less job insecurity than other workers and thus are no more protected from these concerns. Adult work-related educational participation reflects perceived insecurity and industrial restructuring more than prior human capital or competing life course roles. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).
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