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ISER Working Paper Series 2000-13

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

Authors

Publication date

01 Apr 2000

Abstract

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.

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discussion paper

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