Segmentation of non-standard employment in Slovenia

The European researchers of the labour market have long since explored the social unsustainability of the expansion of the most disadvantaged forms of non-standard employment relationships (Supiot, 2001; Pedersini, 2002; Eichhorst et al., 2013; Harvey in Behling, 2010). They stress the importance of the analysis of socio-economic factors that generate and accompany such types of employment as the key to understanding the most problematic social phenomena, and drew attention to certain specific phenomena, such as the problem of the expansion of the informal sector and informal employment relationships in developed countries (which until recently had been characteristic of underdeveloped countries only), and the types of employment relationships in which the usual traits of precarious work are intertwined with that of the unlawful status (Standing, 2008; Chang, 2009; Williams and Lansky, 2013). The deterioration of the situation of the most disadvantaged employees in standard employment relationships is another strong trend that creates an additional problem. In the context of the general trend towards deregulation of employment regimes (liberalization of dismissal procedures), the level of uncertainty of workers in standard employment relationships has been increasing while their situation has a tendency to be equalized with that of the most disadvantaged workers in non-standard employment relationships. The destandardization of employment is an acute problem also because of its negative impact on the ability of social partners to maintain the social dialogue which plays an important role in the “European pillar of social rights” (the European Commission, 2017a; 2017b). The main goal of the research is to explain (identify the sources of) the inter-sectoral segmentation of non-standard employment relationships and its social consequences in Slovenia. Our study will focus on the analysis of sector-specific traits of non-standard employment relationships and on the sector-determined combinations of standard and various types of non-standard employment relationships. Using inter-sectoral comparisons, we will try to identify both the common and sector-specific factors that generate non-standard employment. The emphasis will be placed on the most disadvantage types of such employment – precarious, informal and unlawful employment. We will compare the situation of workers in those non-standard employment relationships with that of the most disadvantaged workers in formally standard employment relationships. The study will cover four sectors: the manufacturing, the retail sector, the information and communication sector and the scientific sector. Within this framework, we will focus on several precisely defined research goals. First, we will seek to determine the extent of (non)standard employment and related trends in the four sectors. Second, we will identify the factors enabling the expansion of various types of (non)standard employment as well as segmentation within those types of employment (splits along the lines of the sustainable/unsustainable). Third, we will define the sources of power of those groups and compare them to the sources of power of standard employees. Fourth, we will explore the effects of the de-standardization of employment on unionisation of non-standard workers, as well as its counter-effect on the sources of power of standard employees. Fifth, we will analyse socio-economic effects (segmentation) of non-standard employment relationships in the four sectors.

Project leader: dr. Miroslav Stanojević
Project coworkers: Miroslav Stanojević, Maja Breznik, Miroljub Ignjatović, Aleksandra Kanjuo-Mrčela, Branko Bembič, Jožica Zajc Čehovin

Project website




Faculty of Social Sciences, Center for the Study of Organizations and Human Resources


Slovenian research agency