Temporary work in the EU:

15% of women and 13% of men employees

More than half of temporary workers are under 30

In 2000 in the EU, 14.5% of women employees and 12.5% of men had temporary jobs1. With 34.6% of women and 30.7% of men employees on a fixed-term contract, temporary working was most common in Spain, followed by Portugal (22.7% of women and 18.4% of men) and Finland (20.9% and 14.5%). On the other hand, in Luxembourg only 4.4% of women and 2.7% of men had temporary jobs and in Ireland 5.9% and 3.6% respectively.

The proportion of women employees in temporary jobs was higher in all EU Member States: the gap with men was largest in Finland (women: 20.9%, men: 14.5%), the Netherlands (17.1% and 11.3%) and Belgium (12.1% and 6.6%), and lowest in Germany (13.1% and 12.5%) and Austria (8.4% and 7.6%).

The proportion of employees in temporary jobs increased slightly in the EU between 1992 and 2000: on average, it rose from 12.2% to 14.5% for women and from 9.9% to 12.5% for men. However, three countries, Spain, Ireland and Denmark, showed the reverse tendency, with fewer fixed-term contracts for both sexes in 2000.

This information comes from a study2 analysing temporary jobs in the EU, published today by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities in Luxembourg.

Temporary work more prevalent among the young

The highest proportions of fixed-term contracts were recorded in the 15-19 age group, partly due to their use to cover training and probation periods: 48% of women employees and 56% of men in this age group worked on a temporary basis. The largest proportions were observed in Spain, where 83% of women and 87% of men had temporary contracts, France, with 78% and 86%, respectively, and Germany with 78% and 84%.

The lowest proportions working on the basis of a fixed-term contract in the 15-19 age group were observed in the United Kingdom, with 16% of both sexes, in Denmark with 17% of women employees and in Ireland with 19% of men.

The share of temporary contracts diminished with age in practically all Member States and for both sexes. On average in the EU, for women, it declined from 48% for the under-20s to 26% in the 20-29 age group, 10% in the 30-49 age group and 6% for the over-50s. The respective figures for men were 56%, 24%, 8% and 6%. As a consequence of this, in 2000, just under 54% of women in fixed-term jobs and almost 58% of men were under 30.

Percentage of temporary jobs for women and men employees in 2000

All age groups

15-19 year-olds

20-29 year-olds

30-49 year-olds

50-64 year-olds

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

EU-15

14.5

12.5

48.0

55.5

26.0

23.6

10.2

7.7

6.3

5.7

Belgium

12.1

6.6

46.7

50.6

22.6

15.2

8.3

3.3

6.3

3.0

Denmark

11.7

8.7

17.3

35.0

24.4

18.0

8.0

3.7

5.6

3.5

Germany

13.1

12.5

77.7

84.1

24.6

25.5

7.5

6.1

4.7

4.3

Greece

15.6

11.5

39.7

44.6

23.5

19.3

12.0

9.0

11.7

6.8

Spain

34.6

30.7

83.0

86.6

54.4

53.2

25.4

23.3

14.9

13.4

France

15.8

14.3

78.0

86.2

33.5

30.0

10.8

8.2

5.1

4.9

Ireland

5.9

3.6

29.8

18.6

5.8

4.8

3.4

1.3

4.9

1.5

Italy

12.2

8.8

35.7

34.9

20.9

16.5

9.7

6.5

5.6

5.4

Luxembourg

4.4

2.7

55.6*

35.7*

5.3

6.0

3.5

1.3

1.2

0.6

Netherlands

17.1

11.3

44.7

45.9

22.4

18.2

12.2

6.7

9.7

3.5

Austria

8.4

7.6

63.7

76.1

8.9

6.4

4.5

2.9

2.2

1.7

Portugal

22.7

18.4

52.5

40.3

36.9

29.7

15.5

12.8

12.4

9.6

Finland

20.9

14.5

59.9

64.8

44.5

29.4

15.6

8.2

8.0

5.6

Sweden

16.5

12.1

61.8

64.4

33.6

23.9

13.1

8.5

7.3

6.0

United Kingdom

7.6

5.7

15.7

15.8

9.3

8.1

6.7

3.7

5.7

5.3

(*) Data to be treated with caution, due to reliability problems

Source: EU Labour Force Survey

Reasons for being in temporary work vary between Member States

Over a third of women in 8 of the 14 Member States for which data are available (no data for France) who worked in jobs with fixed-term contracts in 2000, and a third of men in 10 Member States stated that they were so employed because they could not find a permanent job. The proportion of employees arguing this reason exceeded 70% in Belgium, Spain and Greece and 50% in Finland and Sweden for both sexes.

In Germany, Luxembourg and Austria for both sexes, and in Denmark for men, the most common reason for being in temporary work was linked to training while in Ireland it was most common not to want a permanent job.

 

     

  1. Temporary jobs are jobs covered by fixed-term contracts (whether written or verbal). They involve people employed for a temporary replacement, a seasonal employment, people working for employment agencies, people in training or probation periods.

     

     

  2. Eurostat, Statistics in focus, Population and social conditions, n°13/2002, "At the margins of the labour market? Women and men in temporary jobs in Europe"

     

 

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