Forget about permanent job in Europe . And in Italy

The life-term contract does not exist anymore and especially young people have to get use to it. In Europe more than one in ten emplyees are employed on temporary contracts, even if they would prefer a permanent job. That’s what Eurofound data  tell us: the number of temporary employees grew by 25% in the EU27 between 2001 and 2012, compared with a growth rate of 7% in permanent employees. Italy is one of the countries where temporary jobs rised up.

A protester stands in front of the European Commission headquarters during a demonstration by European steel workers to protest against proposed measures to give China greater access to EU markets, and call for action on subsidised Chinese imports, in central Brussels, Belgium, February 15, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Temporary jobs rise in Europe

On one hand temporary contracts help employers to manage their labour market demnad, while on the other hand they create job insecurity and lower pay. The growth of temporary jobs is the result of  reforms loosening employment protection legislation, which gives employers greater flexibility to adjust their workforces when their circumstances change, and reduces the cost. 

The growth of temporary contracts between 2001 and 2012 took place especially in five countries : Poland (2 million), Germany (1.1 million), Italy (900,000), France (400,000) and the Netherlands (300,000). However, Spain lost almost half a million temporary jobs in net terms in the same period, while the UK lost almost 140,000.

During the crisis in 2008 many employers decided to do not renew temporary contracts to their employees. After the peak of the crisis temporary employees were the best option for employers: between 2010 and 2012, half of new recruits were hired on temporary contracts, compared with 40% in 2002. The proportion was around 80% in Spain and Poland.

In 2012, 13% of all employees across the EU27 were working under a temporary contract, compared with 11% in 2001. The proportion of temporary employees is different across europe: Over a quarter of workers were on temporary contracts in Poland in 2012 and over one-fifth in Spain and Portugal, while rates were lower than 5% in Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Romania.

Involutary temporary employee status

Being workers with temporary contracts , with uncertain conditions and lower pay, it is not choice, at least according to the data of 64% of employees who cannot find an other long term job. But transitioning out of temporary jobs is not easy in any case, as Eurofound reminds us. Between 2010 and 2012 only one in five employees with short term contractsin the EU a  a whole made this transition.

A similar percentage of them moved into no-employment. While only 7% of temporary employees moved into permanent jobs.

Furthermore, temporary employees are paid less than their permanent counterparts, on average 19% less across European countries, according to Eurofound’s analysis of data from Structure of Earnings Survey (SES).

There is a 14% wage gap, related to temporary status within the average company in all countries, differentials on the wages exist within companies and as well between companies.

Usually temporary employees are more likely to work in those companies characterised by relatively lower pay levels.

Eurofound identify a segmentation in the labour market, two different levels easy to imagine: on one hand temporary employees without any guarantee, with uncertain job conditions, poorer labour market prospects and lower pay levels, while on the other hand employees under permanent contracts, enjoy higher levels of job security, better pay and opportunities for career progression.The challenge is to make these different segments more equal: find out an equity solution within employees and between who is already into the labour market and who is still out. There is still a rising gap between different generations of workers.

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