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

  • Booth, Alison L.
  • Francesconi, Marco
  • Frank, Jeff

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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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2000-13.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2000-13.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2000
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2000-13
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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Order Information: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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  1. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  2. Dickens, Richard & Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2000. "New Labour and the Labour Market," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 95-113, Spring.
  3. Henry S. Farber, 1999. "Alternative and Part-Time Employment Arrangements as a Response to Job Loss," NBER Working Papers 7002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Wang, Ruqu & Weiss, Andrew, 1998. "Probation, layoffs, and wage-tenure profiles: A sorting explanation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 359-383, September.
  6. Alison L. Booth & Marco Francesconi & Carlos Garcia-Serrano, 1999. "Job tenure and job mobility in Britain," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(1), pages 43-70, October.
  7. Lewis Segal & Daniel Sullivan, 1996. "The growth of temporary services work," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Bentolila, Samuel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1994. "A model of labor demand with linear adjustment costs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 303-326, September.
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  10. David H. Autor, 2000. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," NBER Working Papers 7637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 1994. "Seniority, Earnings and Unions," CEPR Discussion Papers 1007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  18. Audrey Light & Kathleen McGarry, 1998. "Job Change Patterns And The Wages Of Young Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 276-286, May.
  19. Susan N. Houseman & Anne E. Polivka, 1999. "The Implications of Flexible Staffing Arrangements for Job Stability," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 99-56, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  20. Mark B. Stewart, 2002. "The Inter-related Dynamics of Unemployment and Low Pay," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 B2-4, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  21. Dolton, Peter J & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Leaving Teaching in the UK: A Duration Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 431-44, March.
  22. Boheim, Rene & Taylor, Mark P., 2002. "The search for success: do the unemployed find stable employment?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 717-735, December.
  23. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1990. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Job Ladders," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S106-23, January.
  24. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
  25. Eng Loh, 1994. "Employment probation as a sorting mechanism," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 471-486, April.
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