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Stability and permanence in employment

Measuring the degree of permanence or stability workers experience in their jobs may also be of interest to NSOs and researchers. Permanence and stability should be understood as subdimensions of the broad categories of work relationships in the International Classification of Status in Employment (ICSE-18) with more or less permanent or stable jobs existing within each category.

Permanence: ICSE-18 provides a clear definition of permanence among employees. It refers to employment relationships with no specific end date with an explicit or implicit guarantee that an employer will undertake to provide work and remuneration or to pay for the goods or services produced over the course of the agreement.

ICSE-18 also provides statistical criteria to determine if an employee has a permanent or a temporary job, and classifies temporary employees into three categories:

  • Fixed-term employees
  • Short-term and casual employees
  • Paid apprentices, trainees and interns

There is no clear line of demarcation between permanent and non-permanent jobs among dependent contractors, independent workers and contributing family workers, and a variety of measures can be considered to identify workers who have a less permanent job among those types of work relationships.

Stability has two dimensions:  1) the duration of employment (tenure) and (2) the regularity at which a worker engages in paid employment or income-generating tasks while maintaining a continuous duration of employment.

A general indicator of stability in terms of duration is the proportion of workers with a duration of employment of at least three years. However, several indicators are required to capture regularity, and specific considerations should be given to the type of work relationship associated with irregular employment.

While the exact indicators may differ, stability applies to all status in employment categories.

Criteria to identify characteristics of non-permanence or instability by status in employment categories.

Gig work

Gig work is a concept often used to describe a form of employment involving very short-term work. The term “gig” has become increasingly popular in the context of the emergence and growth of digital platform employment. However, the concept of gig work is a broader category that describes employment organized on the basis of short term-tasks, projects or jobs.

To be considered a gig worker, all three of the following components should be met:

1) Gig workers are people who accept short-term tasks, projects, or jobs

2) Gig workers are paid per unit of work delivered

3) Gig workers have no assurance of steady employment and must make specific efforts on their own to obtain each task, project, or job



ILO. (2018). Resolution concerning statistics on work relationships. Adopted by the 20th
International Conference of Labour Statisticians, Geneva, 10–19 October 2018. Retrieved from…