Flexible Employment Contracts and Younger Workers: The Employers’ Perspective

Lin Rouvroye , Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW)
Hendrik P. van Dalen, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Kène Henkens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Joop Schippers, Utrecht University

Western Europe is seeing a trend towards more non-standard employment, exposing young adults to higher individual-level risks. Employers play a key role in controlling the level of exposure to economic insecurity, yet little is known about employers’ perception of ‘flexible’ employment in practice. Therefore we ask: 1) how do employers judge their experience of working with flexible employment contracts?, 2) has the increased use of flexible contracts generated negative side-effects within organisations, particularly in relation to younger workers? and 3) how do employers perceive the future of flexible employment both within their organizations and for the labour market as a whole? We conducted semi-structured interviews (n=26) with managers, HR professionals and directors working at thirteen organizations in both the public and the private sector in the Netherlands. Across sectors interviewees are satisfied working with flexible contracts because it mainly helps them to minimize financial risks. However, interviewees clearly report a downside to using flexible contracts. It complicates the retention of talent, endangers the transferal of company specific knowledge and negatively affects younger workers’ wellbeing and the social climate at the workplace. Most interviewees argued employers cannot be help primarily responsible for monitoring the societal effects of an increasingly flexible labour market. Keywords: Non-standard employment, flexible contracts, Employer perspective, Younger workers, Qualitative research, workplace dynamics

See paper

 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy