Temporary employment in Europe

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 62 Issue 9

Evolution of the labor market in European countries is associated with the spread of various nonstandard

forms of employment. One of these forms is temporary employment which assumes fixed-term labor

contracts. This regime of labor relations affects different groups of workers and is accompanied by erosion

of the existing social protection model. Using data from Eurostat and OECD, the author discusses main

trends and structural properties of such employment, shows its heterogeneity and the ambiguity of social

consequences. On the one hand, fixed-term labor contracts are extended, first of all, among low-skilled

and low-educated workers. However, an actual alternative to such contracts for this group of workers is

non-employment which can hardly be a good substitute. On the other hand, fixed-term contracts are often

applied to apprentices and trainees. In this case, they facilitate transition to permanent jobs. Vulnerability in

the labor market relates probably not so much to the type of labor contract as to the quality of the human

capital that workers possess. Those with the modern human capital have stronger labor market positions

regardless of the type of a contract. On the contrast, the low quality of a human capital increases vulnerability

of workers’ labor market positions and exposes them to inferior labor relations. Under certain conditions,

temporary employment can really become a problem for employees. Low-paid short-term contracts without

social protection could be a “trap” of vulnerable employment and poverty for unskilled workers who have

weak positions in the labor market. The situation for young people is especially serious today, and their

entry into the labor market is often difficult. Both the scale and structural characteristics of temporary

employment are an outcome of the acting labor market institutions, and a viable solution to this problem

relates to reforms of these institutions.

Keywordsnon-standard employment, temporary employment, fixed-term contracts, segmented labor market, precarious employment, employment protection legislation
Publication date03.10.2018
Number of characters538
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