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Why Do Recent Graduates Enter into Flexible Jobs?


Flexible jobs make up a larger share of the Dutch labour market than in almost any other Western country. Recent graduates in the Netherlands are particularly likely to take flexible jobs. In this study we examine why recent graduates enter into temporary contracts and whether flexible jobs offer a poorer match for graduates’ qualifications than permanent jobs. We find that recent graduates that enter into flexible jobs face large wage penalties, a worse job match and less training participation than graduates who take permanent jobs, even after correcting for differences in ability. When the labour market situation for a particular field of education deteriorates, more recent graduates are forced into flexible jobs, threatening their position on the labour market in the long run. Flexible work among recent graduates is unrelated to their willingness to take risks. Only for university graduates is there any indication that flexible jobs may provide a stepping stone to permanent employment.


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Correspondence to Frank Cörvers.

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Bertrand-Cloodt, D., Cörvers, F., Kriechel, B. et al. Why Do Recent Graduates Enter into Flexible Jobs?. De Economist 160, 157–175 (2012).

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  • Flexible work
  • Job characteristics
  • Job mismatch
  • Temporary contracts
  • Recent graduates
  • Willingness to take risks

JEL Classification

  • J21
  • J24
  • J41
  • M51