Objective: The aim of this study was to examine changes in working hours, shift work, psychological and physical job demands, job control and job insecurity in Taiwanese employees by gender and age during the period of 2001 to 2010.
Methods: The study subjects were 36,750 men and 27,549 women, aged 25-64, from 4 rounds of cross-sectional surveys of representative employees. Psychosocial work conditions were assessed by a validated questionnaire.
Results: Regression analyses with adjustment of education and employment grade showed that from 2001 to 2010, the proportions of workers with long working hours (>48 hours/week) (OR=1.4 in men and 1.5 in women) and workers with short working hours (<40 hours/week) (OR=1.3 in both genders) both increased over time, indicating an increasing polarization in the distribution of working hours. Furthermore, the proportions of nonstandard work shifts (OR=1.7 in men and 2.1 in women) and work with high physical demands (OR=1.5 for both gender) increased. There were signs of decreasing levels of job control from 2001 to 2007, which seemed to be more apparent in younger workers than in older workers. However, a slight recovery in decision latitude and opportunity for learning was noticed in later years. The trend in job insecurity was not linear, with the highest prevalence found in 2004.
Conclusions: Our findings suggested that certain aspects of psychosocial work environment had deteriorated in Taiwan. There is a need to raise public awareness about the changing patterns of psychosocial health risks at work as well as their causes and their potential impacts on worker well-being.