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PEDAR: Executive Summary Beyond 9 to 5: The Diversity of Employment Among 1992-93 College Graduates in 1997
Prevalence of Alternative Employment
Demographic, Family, and Academic Chatacteristics
Alternative Employment 1 and 4 Years After College Completion
Alternative Employment and Other Labor Market Experiences
Research Methodology
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Executive Summary (PDF)
Alternative Employment and Other Labor Market Experiences

Workers have a range of reasons for voluntarily or involuntarily working in alternative employment, balancing the disadvantages and benefits associated with particular jobs. Studies suggest a number of reasons why a worker may not have a traditional job. For example, a worker may not be able to find permanent work, or he or she may choose alternative employment to obtain flexible hours, to make a transition into a new job or field, or to earn more money (Lester 1996; Rothstein 1996).

Among 1992–93 bachelor’s degree recipients who were employed but not enrolled in 1997, those with some type of alternative working arrangement were more likely than others to report having the freedom to make decisions as a reason for taking their job (10 vs. 4 percent). Part-time workers were more likely than those working full time to cite convenience (12 vs. 8 percent) or having time for non-work-related activities (5 vs. 2 percent) as a reason for choosing their job. Also, those who were self-employed were more likely to cite income potential as a reason for choosing their job (17 vs. 10 percent). On the other hand, those with some type of alternative working arrangement were less likely to report interesting work (15 vs. 19 percent), advancement opportunities (9 vs. 18 percent), good starting salary (8 vs. 12 percent), or good job security (4 vs. 6 percent) as a reason for taking their job.

Part-time workers were less likely than full-time workers to receive each of the benefits examined—health insurance benefits (41 vs. 91 percent), paid sick leave (39 vs. 88 percent), paid vacation (39 vs. 90 percent), retirement benefits (44 vs. 82 percent), family-related benefits (31 vs. 70 percent), and job training (29 vs. 47 percent). Among full-time workers, those with some type of alternative working arrangement were less likely than others to receive each benefit examined. Full-time workers who were self-employed or had multiple jobs were less likely than others to receive benefits. In addition, full-time workers employed in field professions were generally less likely than those employed in professional occupations or clerical and support occupations to receive benefits. Fewer differences in benefits were detected among part-time workers.

Among graduates who worked full time, several differences in income were detected by alternative employment. Those who were self-employed had a higher income than their counterparts who worked for someone else, while those with multiple jobs had a lower income than those with only one job. Those with professional occupations earned more than those with clerical and support occupations or field professions. In contrast, no income differences were found among part-time workers by self-employment, number of jobs worked, or type of occupation.

Gender differences were also observed in the relationship between income and some types of alternative employment. Among full-time male workers, self-employment was associated with higher income and working in multiple jobs was associated with lower income. These results did not apply to their female counterparts. Also, even among the alternatively employed, there were gender differences in income. For example, full-time self-employed men earned more than their female counterparts ($43,600 vs. $29,800). And within each occupation type, men earned more than their female counterparts. Clearly, a gender gap in earnings persists even among those with various types of employment.

While the 1992–93 bachelor’s degree recipients in alternative employment generally had fewer benefits and often had lower incomes, the analysis also shows that they often gave different reasons for choosing their jobs. Therefore, their satisfaction with their work might depend on which job characteristics are being considered. For example, part-time workers were less likely than full-time workers to be very satisfied with their job security (55 vs. 65 percent), fringe benefits (36 vs. 56 percent), and promotion opportunities (28 vs. 40 percent). However, there were no differences found between full-time and part-time workers’ satisfaction with pay, job challenge, working conditions, and relationships with coworkers.

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education