Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Is temporary employment bad for your health?

6 December 2019

Our WorkLife blog looks at new research from Rachel Sumner from the University of Gloucestershire and colleagues showing, where our health is concerned, we may actually be just as well off being unemployed as we are in an insecure job.

Manual worker

It’s long been acknowledged that there’s a link between unemployment and poor health. A recent Government Green Paper put it starkly:

“People who are unemployed have higher rates of mortality and a lower quality of life. This is an injustice that we must address.”

But is any job really better than no job? Or could some types of employment actually be linked just as strongly to poor health? Rachel Sumner and  colleagues have been investigating using data from the Understanding Society study, which took blood samples from more than 4500 people aged between 16 and 64 who were either working or unemployed in 2010 and 2011.