precariat
n. People whose lives are precarious because they have little or no job security. [Precarious + proletariat.]

Example Citations:
This is echoed by the handful of other academics who are dipping their toes into the murky psychological depths where liberal values and baser instincts collide. The economist Professor Guy Standing, for example, who has charted the slide away from altruism and tolerance among that large group of stressed, job-insecure Britons he dubs the "precariat".
—Bill Tuckey, "Liberals: The secret elitists," The Independent, December 13, 2010

Britain is not far behind, with a raft of newly minted "teaching fellowships" and the proliferation of short-term, part-time teaching positions, contracted on an hourly paid basis, in which PhD students or new postdocs are charged with delivering mass undergraduate programmes, with little training, inadequate support and rates of pay that can make cleaning and catering work seem like attractive options. Young and "early career" academics (a designation that can nowadays last across one's entire career) may become emblematic of the newly emerging global "precariat" that Ross discusses.
—Rosalind Gill, "Employment, but without benefits," The Times Higher Education Supplement, March 4, 2010

Earliest Citation:
Peter Glotz, the secretary general of the West German Social Democratic Party, has described this emerging "post-Fordist" economy as a "three-speed society," with the top third consisting of professional and managerial strata; the middle third composed of unionized industrial workers and middle strata employed in the helping professions and the public sector, and the bottom third characterized by a "precariat" of predominantly nonunionized clerical and service employees, the partially employed, and the unemployed.
Socialist Review: Volume 20," Agenda Publishing Co., January 1, 1990 (approx)

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