Labour Markets in Transition
Edited by Ruud Muffels
Chapter 3: Transitions out of Temporary Jobs: Consequences for Employment and Poverty Across Europe
Annelies Debels 3.1 INTRODUCTION Temporary jobs tend to get a double interpretation in labour market research; on the one hand they are considered as ‘stepping-stones’ towards stable, permanent jobs, while on the other hand they are seen as ‘dead-end’ jobs in a second-rank career (Booth, Francesconi and Frank, 2002; Korpi and Levin, 2001; Scherer, 2004). From a transitional labour market perspective this is an important difference because temporary work can only be considered a valuable policy tool if it ‘encourage[s] transitions across the border of social systems without inducing downward spirals of social exclusion’ (Schmid, 1998, p. 2). Therefore, it is essential to assess to what extent temporary work leads to transitions into permanent employment and into non-employment. However, it is equally important, though generally overlooked, to examine the broader consequences of the labour market transitions under study. This chapter aims to fill this gap by studying the poverty consequences of transitions between temporary work and other labour market statuses. Temporary work can smooth transitions between education, unemployment or inactivity and permanent work in several ways. Employment in a temporary job can give access to internal vacancies in firms. It may also increase the attractiveness of the employees by providing them with work experience and work-related skills. However, working in a temporary job could also hinder the transition into permanent employment. It is sometimes argued that temporary jobs belong to a secondary labour market, from which it is difficult to escape (Korpi and Levin, 2001). Others look upon temporary...
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