Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe
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Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe

Labour Markets in Transition

Edited by Ruud Muffels

This book seeks to gain a better understanding of the paradoxical relationship between the alleged need of European labour markets to become more flexible and the way in which national policies pursue this aim without jeopardising existing high standards of income and employment security. Special interest is devoted to the way in which countries opt for different policy routes to cope with the aim of balancing flexibility and security goals in their respective labour market and social protection policies. The contributions in this book all try to unveil the particular changes or transitions occurring in the various labour markets, to learn about their medium and longer term effects and the role of institutions and policies to cushion the adverse consequences of these changes. By studying some ‘best practices’ in Denmark, Canada and Australia they also draw some important lessons about the reasons why national policies might either fail or better cope with the challenges Europe face today.
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Chapter 3: Transitions out of Temporary Jobs: Consequences for Employment and Poverty Across Europe

Annelies Debels


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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