Extending a model of precarious employment: A qualitative study of immigrant workers in Spain

Victoria Porthé, Emily Ahonen, M. Luisa Vázquez, Catherine Pope, Andrés Alonso Agudelo, Ana M. García, Marcelo Amable, Fernando G. Benavides, Joan Benach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Since the 1980s, changes in the labor market have modified power relations between capital and labor, leading to greater levels of precarious employment among workers. Globalization has led to a growth in migration, as people leave their countries in search of work. We aimed to describe the dimensions of precarious employment for immigrant workers in Spain. Methods: Qualitative study using analytic induction. Criterion sampling was used to recruit 129 immigrant workers in Spain with documented and undocumented administrative status. Data quality was ensured by triangulation. Results: Immigrant workers reported that precarious employment is characterized by high job instability, a lack of power for negotiating employment conditions, and defenselessness against high labor demands. They described insufficient wages, long working hours, limited social benefits, and difficulty in exercising their rights. Undocumented workers reported greater defenselessness and worse employment conditions. Conclusions: This study allowed us to describe the dimensions of precarious employment in immigrant workers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:417-424, 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Employment conditions
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Immigrant
  • Precarious employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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