Job insecurity and in-role performance in the public sector: the mediating role of willingness to train A case study of public universities in the Netherlands
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Research aim: Flexible employment with temporary contracts is a general characteristic in the Netherlands, while the current labor market is affected by staff shortages. Dutch universities are frontrunners when it comes to temporary contracts; from 2003-2020 the number of temporary contracts doubled. This high percentage of temporary workers and the staff shortages are causing a tension in the employment relations. Temporary workers change jobs more easily and, therefore, universities employees are considered at risk to change work environment, especially since the staff shortages increase the opportunities in the labor market. Generally, job insecurity impacts Therefore, this study examines the relationship between job insecurity due to the provision of fixed-term contracts, and in-role performance, and job insecurity and employees’ incentives for training; whether job insecurity will push them to participate in sector-specific learning and development programs. Relevance: The inconsistent research on the impact of job insecurity on in-role performance, as well as the scarce evidence about employees’ willingness to follow sector-specific trainings in uncertain environments dictate that more exploration on the matter is needed. Furthermore, there is a social relevance related to keeping a high educational level in society, while universities and workers will have a clear idea and an arrow in their quiver to substantiate their bargain of providing permanent contracts to more employees. Study method: Quantitative research with web-based survey prepared in Qualtrics and analyzed in Stata. Linear regression models were used, and mediation was tested with Stata’s mediation option. Study findings: Job insecurity is negatively related to in-role performance and the following and willingness to follow job-related trainings, in the context of Dutch universities. Furthermore, the following and the willingness to follow job-related trainings positively relates to better in-role performance. Lastly, the following of job-related trainings like the BKO mediates the relationship between job insecurity and in-role performance. Future research: Explore if the possibility to obtain a permanent contract will alter the results and the effects on psychological and physical well-being. Regarding the research about Dutch universities, researchers could test whether the position plays a significant role in determining whether employees will follow job-related trainings. Also, examine if employees will be more willing to follow trainings that will enhance their general skills.