News archive 2006
Temporary staff happier and healthier27 January 2006, PR08/06
New research conducted by staff in the Department of Management at King's College London, reveals that temporary workers are happier and healthier than permanent workers.
These findings come from a European Union study involving seven countries and more than 5,000 workers. The results are similar in all countries including those, such as Germany, where unemployment is considerably higher than in the UK.
The results for the UK are based on a detailed study of 642 staff from 19 organisations, including 25 per cent working on temporary contracts, and ranging from factory workers to professionals.
They suggest that temporary workers cannot be sensibly viewed as an exploited minority and raise important questions about a number of current policy initiatives.
Key UK results show the following:
|Permanent Workers||Temporary Workers|
|Work causes anxiety||31||16|
|Work makes me feel depressed||21||11|
|Work makes me irritated||44||38|
|Work positively influences my life outside work||32||37|
|I experience work overload||41||29|
|I am satisfied with my job||66||77|
|My general health is good||80||87|
|I have had sickness absence in the past year||68||60|
|I have attended work when sick in the past year||81||68|
|I am satisfied with life as a whole||78||79|
|I feel a sense of job insecurity||18||33|
|Currently on preferred contract of employment||71||37|
Although differences are not always large, they mostly favour temporary workers. This is the case even though temporary workers report higher job insecurity and many would prefer a permanent job. Even temporary low-skill factory workers are more positive than many permanent workers.
Most of these differences persist, even after taking account of background factors and a range of organisational influences.
In seeking to explain these unexpected findings, Professor David Guest, the director of the UK research said:
‘Two key factors need to be considered. The first is that permanent workers are more likely to feel that their psychological contract with their employer has been in some way violated and this affects their well-being. Secondly, it is not so much that temporary jobs are good but that permanent jobs have got worse. People are working harder, they have less freedom at work and there is a general decline in job satisfaction. The research findings suggest that we need to give urgent attention to improving the quality of all jobs, including those of permanent workers.'
The seven countries participating in the study were Belgium, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
For further informationDavid Guest: tel: 0207 848 3723 email@example.com
Michael Clinton: tel: 0207 848 3472 firstname.lastname@example.org
Copies of a fuller UK report are available at: Department of Management
King's College LondonKing's College London is one of the two oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with more than 13,800 undergraduate students and nearly 5,700 postgraduates in nine schools of study. It is a member of the Russell Group: a coalition of the UKs major research-based universities. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level, and it has recently received an excellent result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
King's is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings, with income from grants and contracts of £100 million, and has an annual turnover of more than £348 million. In 2004 the College was once again awarded an AA- financial credit rating from Standard & Poor's.
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