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Time After Time: the stickiness of temporary jobs in career mobility

May 16, 2023 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm AEST
The University of Sydney

A light lunch will be provided.

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Research on temporary employment has provided ambiguous evidence on how it affects career mobility of workers. We use a dynamic, temporal lens to examine how the careers of young workers unfold over a ten-year period when they work in temporary, time-limited contracts compared to more standard, open-ended contracts. We propose that there is a self-reinforcing mechanism associated with temporary employment contracts and a negative stereotype of temporary workers which sets them on a path wherein, over time, temporary workers are likely to be stuck in a sequence of temporary jobs rather than switching to standard jobs. However, not all temporary jobs lead to dead-ends. Jobs that are time-limited, but are intended to develop human capital such as apprenticeships, should not have these negative effects. They are likely to be less "sticky" than other temporary jobs. Finally, we propose that temporary jobs are less sticky depending on the extent to which they provide opportunities to gain skills, especially verifiable ones. We examine these ideas using data from a ten-year national longitudinal survey of 10,904 French school-leavers in 1998. The data provide support for most of our arguments. We also found that time in both types of temporary employment were associated with lower salary and career satisfaction at the end of the ten years.


Elizabeth George (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is a Professor of Management at the University of Auckland. She has an active research interest in nonstandard work arrangements and diversity in the workplace. Her work has been published in major international academic journals such as Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organization Science, and the Academy of Management Annals. In addition, her research has been used by the International Labor Organization and the US Society for Human Resource Management to help inform public policy and management practice. She served on the Board of Governors and the executive committee of the Managerial and Organizational Cognition and the Organizational Behavior Divisions of the Academy of Management. She is co-editor-in-chief the Academy of Management Annals. She has previously been co-editor in chief of Organizational Psychology Review and associate editor on the Academy of Management Annals, Australian Journal of Management, and Organization Studies. She serves on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Academy of Management Discoveries. She has held academic positions at universities in Asia, Australia, and the United States.