Some people have regular jobs. Some are unemployed. Irregulars occupy a grey zone in-between.
Are there days when you need to find work, but you don’t know what times you might be available? You need irregular work: employment that fits around existing commitments in your life.
Many people seek work around unpredictable obligations such as family, studying or medical constraints. Some prefer it to mono-skilled dependancy on one organisation (a traditional job). Others are having irregular work forced on them: they need to find top-up hours because of “clo-opening shifts”.
Insight into this corner of labor markets remains sketchy. Informed estimates of Irregulars in the workforce range from 5% to 33%, depending on definition. Much activity is in the shadow economy. But credible evidence points to a growing issue now impacting the entire workforce.
The pivotal issue for Irregulars is quality of market. Someone in a job typically enters the labor market every few years when it’s time to move on. An irregular can be in-and-out several times a day in search of another block of work. The priorities. structures and depth in that market determines their earnings, security and progression. Current markets are poor quality: typically prioritizing investors and employers’ short-term needs.
In this section:
→ Who are they? Some want irregularity, others can’t avoid it.
→ What’s their problem? Uncertainty, marginalization, skimpy marketplaces.
→ Why support them? Prospects for all workers are threatened by “gig” work.