Sometimes it’s called temporary work, sometimes it’s called temporary work. The prejudice is always the same: auxiliary jobs with no prospect of a career – there is nothing else there. In fact, in many cases, this is still the case. “The typical temporary worker is male, young, and unqualified”, says Ilona Mirtschin, labor market expert at the Federal Employment Agency.
Temporary work can be a good start, especially for young people
The work is usually not demanding: “About every second temporary employment job is a simple auxiliary activity,” says Mirtschin. But that is only one side of the statistics. Because in some industries, temporary employment offers career opportunities, says the expert: ” Especially for young people, a job with a temporary employment agency can be a good entry into the job market.” The assignments often only last two to three months – a good opportunity for newcomers to gain experience. “Temporary work is often used to orientate oneself on the job market”, says Wolfram Linke from IG Zeitarbeit, the association of German temporary employment agencies. Some even decide permanently for temporary work, says the industry representative. Because some forms of temporary work are even attractive for academics. In the aerospace sector, for example, where projects often only run for a limited period of two or three years. “The companies like to bring specialists on board for the duration of the project,” says Linke. Engineers, for example, can choose their projects and receive targeted further training. “The times of wage dumping with the help of temporary workers are over,” says Prof. Peter Schuren, a lawyer at the University of Münster and an expert in temporary employment. Since the legislature banned the permanent hiring out of workers, companies have mainly used the instrument to cushion peaks in demand. The collective bargaining agreements for temporary workers have also improved significantly over the past ten years, according to the labor lawyer.
Specialists often earn more as temporary workers than with a permanent position
Nonetheless, most temporary workers still receive less wages than the regular workforce. But exceptions also confirm the rule here: “Graduates in the field of temporary workers are often highly specialized professionals who often earn significantly more in this way than in a normal position,” says labor market expert Mirtschin. However, just nine percent of temporary workers have studied. For many temporary workers, instead, jobs alternate with phases of unemployment. “Many temporary workers end up in the basic security again after a deployment because they have not paid into the unemployment insurance long enough,” explains Mirtschin. “The associations are trying very hard to get rid of the dirty image of the industry,”, says Schüren. He recommends job seekers take a close look at the temporary employment agency in advance. “If there are employees who have worked there for a longer period of time and are satisfied, that’s a good sign.” When making the selection, an employee should also make sure that the company pays according to the tariff and that it is a member of an employers’ association. “It is also important that the temporary employment agency takes care of the needs of its employees,” advises Linke. For example, a company should not only provide work clothes and safety shoes but also help with problems in the operational area.