What matters more: Job insecurity or financial uncertainty?

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a conference


Jahoda (1982) argued that employment provides more than just financial security. When individuals fear that they might lose their jobs, they worry not only about their financial situation, but also about other latent benefits associated with work, such as status and identity, a collective purpose, and social contact. A few studies have examined the simultaneous effect of job insecurity and financial uncertainty, but a direct test of Jahoda’s claim appears to be missing. The current study aims to provide part of the answer by examining which of the two factors, job insecurity and financial uncertainty, while controlling for income, is most strongly associated with a set of frequently studied outcomes of economic stressors (i.e., task and contextual performance, cognitive problems, work engagement, and emotional exhaustion). The authors hypothesized that: (a) job insecurity and financial uncertainty are two distinct factors; (b) job insecurity explains variance in the study outcomes in addition to the variance explained by financial uncertainty; (c) job insecurity is a stronger predictor than financial uncertainty, and (d) perceived employability moderates the effect of job insecurity, after accounting for the effects of income and financial uncertainty. The hypotheses were tested using cross-sectional data from 294 US workers, collected through Prolific Academic. Results of the confirmatory factor analysis showed that job insecurity and financial uncertainty are two distinct factors, with the two-factor model fitting the data better than the one-factor model, p < .001. The results of the stepwise OLS regression in which each of the outcomes was regressed on the control variable, income (Step 1), financial uncertainty (Step 2), and job insecurity (Step 3) showed that job insecurity explained variance in each of the outcome variables in addition to the variance explained by income and financial uncertainty (ranging from R2 = .019, p = .016 for work engagement to R2 = .092, p < .001 for task performance). The results from a relative importance analysis showed that relative to income and financial uncertainty, job insecurity is more strongly associated with task performance, contextual performance, and cognitive problems whereas the opposite holds for emotional exhaustion (see Figure 1). Finally, moderated regression analysis showed that the effect of job insecurity was more pronounced for lower levels of perceived employability, even after accounting for income and financial uncertainty (task performance: b = -0.18, p = .013; emotional exhaustion: b = 0.29, p = .017; cognitive problems: b = 0.17, p = .0029). These findings largely support Jahoda’s assertion that job insecurity encompasses more than financial uncertainty, but they simultaneously suggest a more nuanced interpretation, as the relative importance of job insecurity varied across different types of outcomes.
Periode6 jul 20228 jul 2022
EvenementstitelEuropean Academy of Occupational Health Psychology
LocatieBordeaux, France
Mate van erkenningInternational