How important is the type of working contract for job satisfaction of agency workers?
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Previous research finds that agency workers are less satisfied with their job than regular workers. This paper analyzes whether this difference can be explained by the duration of the working contract agency workers are employed on. The analysis leads to three results. First, agency workers’ contract type does not explain their lower job satisfaction. Second, agency workers on permanent contracts are significantly less satisfied with their job than regular workers on the same contract. Third, agency workers on fixed-term contracts do not differ in job satisfaction from regular workers on both fixed-term and permanent contracts. The difference in job satisfaction between permanently employed agency and regular workers can partly be explained by changes in the reference point. Overall, the results, however, lend support to the conclusion that agency workers on fixed-term contracts regard their employment as stepping stone while those on permanent contracts appear to be trapped in this type of employment.
KeywordsJob satisfaction Temporary agency employment Fixed-term contracts Permanent contracts
JEL ClassificationC23 I31 J28 J41
The author would like to thank two anonymous referees, Andrew E. Clark, Caterina Giannetti, Anthony Lepinteur, Christoph Metzger, as well as participants of the Workshop on Subjective Survey Data in Labour Market Research (IAAEU Trier), the 13th Workshop on Social Economy for Young Economists (University of Bologna), the Doctoral Seminar in Public Finance and the Walter Eucken Seminar of Empirical Economics (both at University of Freiburg) for review, discussions, and excellent input that improved the paper.
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Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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