Temporary Work in Germany and Europe
Temporary work is one of the fastest growing branches in Germany. This development in a sustained manner influences the whole German labour market. The special organization of this sort of employment for various reasons makes it very attractive to employers and employees as well. Nevertheless, the reputation of this branch is rather poor. Temporary work is characterized as precarious and as an unsafe type of employment. Compared to regular employment, temporary work is often considered as a bridging function into regular employment. Based on the official statistics of temporary work released by the Federal Work Agency as well as on data from the German Socio-economic Panel (SOEP) for 2007, the paper presents the current situation and important characteristics of temporary work and performs an international comparison. The number of employees in temporary work agencies is still a marginal share of total employment. The future development of this branch depends on different factors leading to possible contradicting directions. One important aspect influencing temporary work in the future is the degree of flexibility of regular employment opportunities on the one hand and the possibilities of temporary work agencies to adapt to future working conditions on the other hand. Looking at other European countries, one can see that some degree of saturation in different temporary job opportunities has already been achieved, whereas new perspectives are opened for other jobs, either newly created or transformed from regular employment schemes.