Temporary jobs: who gets them, what are they worth, and do they lead anywhere?

Publication type

ISER Working Paper Series

Series Number



ISER Working Paper Series


Publication date

April 1, 2000


In Britain about 7% of male employees and 10% of female employees are in temporary jobs. In contrast to much of continental Europe, this proportion has been relatively stable over the 1990s. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, we find that, on average, temporary workers report lower levels of job satisfaction, receive less work-related training, and are less well-paid than their counterparts in permanent employment. We find some evidence that temporary jobs are a stepping stone to permanent employment. We find some evidence that temporary jobs are a stepping stone to permanent work, although this transition takes between 18 months and three and a half years depending on contract type (seasonal or fixed term) and gender. Moreover, the wage growth penalty associated with experience of seasonal jobs is quite high, and it is likely that workers experiencing such jobs early in their working lives will never catch up. But experience of fixed-term contracts may lead to high wage growth if the workers move to permanent full-time jobs. This is because workers (especially women) who had such contracts enjoy high returns to (experience capital) once they acquire a permanent job.



discussion paper

Paper download  



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest