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Agency Working in Britain: Character, Consequences and Regulation

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Author Info

  • Chris Forde
  • Gary Slater

Abstract

Debate over the nature of temporary agency work has intensified in recent times, spurred on by a proposed European directive and by speculation about links with the much heralded 'knowledge' economy. This paper examines the debate, focusing on the current character of agency work in Britain. Using data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), we assess some of the claims commonly made about agency work, relating to the personal and employment characteristics of those engaged in such work, the motives of agency workers and the prospects for those who take up agency jobs. In considering the arguments surrounding regulatory change, we find there is a strong case for regulation, but that this rests on the continued disadvantage associated with agency work, with little evidence of an impact from the purported 'knowledge' economy. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2005.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by London School of Economics in its journal British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Volume (Year): 43 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 249-271

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Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:43:y:2005:i:2:p:249-271

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Cited by:
  1. Francis Green, 2008. "Temporary Work and Insecurity in Britain: A Problem Solved?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 147-160, August.
  2. Jahn, Elke & Pozzoli, Dario, 2011. "Does the Sector Experience Affect the Pay Gap for Temporary Agency Workers?," Working Papers 11-9, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  3. Marc Doussard & Nik Theodore, 2006. "The Temporary Staffing Industry and Workforce Development: Assessing a System of Local Experiments," Local Economy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 264-278, August.
  4. Chris Forde & Robert MacKenzie, 2010. "The Ethical Agendas of Employment Agencies Towards Migrant Workers in the UK: Deciphering the Codes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 31-41, December.
  5. repec:lan:wpaper:3016 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Niebuhr, Annekatrin & Buch, Tanja, 2013. "Wage effects of labor market entry via temporary work agency employment - evidence for German apprenticeship graduates," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79818, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  7. Jahn, Elke J., 2008. "Reassessing the Wage Penalty for Temps in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. J. Shackleton, 2007. "Britain’s Labor Market Under the Blair Governments," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 454-476, July.
  9. Böheim, René & Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2007. "Temporary Agency Work in Portugal, 1995–2000," IZA Discussion Papers 3144, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. John T. Addison & Christopher J. Surfield, 2005. "‘Atypical Work’ and Compensation," GEMF Working Papers 2005-14, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  11. Heywood, John S. & Siebert, W. Stanley & Wei, Xiangdong, 2006. "Examining the Determinants of Agency Work: Do Family Friendly Practices Play a Role?," IZA Discussion Papers 2413, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. repec:lan:wpaper:2922 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2012. "A Price for Flexibility? The Temp Agency Wage Gap in Sweden 1998-2008," IZA Discussion Papers 6587, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. repec:lan:wpaper:3171 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Chris Dawson & Michail Veliziotis, 2013. "Temporary employment, job satisfaction and subjective well-being," Working Papers 20131309, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  16. Rene Boeheim & Ana Rute Cardoso, 2007. "Temporary Help Services Employment in Portugal, 1995-2000," NBER Working Papers 13582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. C Green & J S Heywood, 2007. "Are flexible contracts bad for workers? Evidence from job satisfaction data," Working Papers 590927, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  18. Jahn, Elke J. & Pozzoli, Dario, 2013. "The pay gap of temporary agency workers — Does the temp sector experience pay off?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-57.

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