This paper provides an up-to-date examination of the hypothesis that under certain circumstances casual workers can become trapped into a work history of repetitive casual jobs with little chance of escape.

Australia experienced strong economic growth between 1992 and 2008 and the subsequent employment growth has resulted in generational low rates of unemployment. A significant part of that employment creation has been of casual
nature, that is, jobs which do not enjoy the entitlements that permanent employment delivers. So casual workers have low levels of job security, no holiday and/or sick leave, little opportunities to train, but may receive higher wages. If secure and permanent employment was available, casual work would only likely be the first-choice option to those who have no ambition to develop a career in that line of work. This would apply, for example, to students who use casual work to help support their studies.

However, when secure and permanent employment opportunities are constrained, casual employment would also become an attractive alternative, if it provides a pathway to non-casual employment (that is, are conduit between unemployment and non-casual employment) that would otherwise be unattainable for that person.

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