Temporary Agency Work Facilitates Labour Market Transitions


New Eurociett/UNI Europa report demonstrates agency work’s stepping stone function

A new report, published by Eurociett and UNI Europa – the social partners for the temporary agency work sector, demonstrates the positive role temporary agency work plays in facilitating transitions in the labour market.


Launched today at a high level pan European conference in Brussels, the report puts facts and figures behind the stepping stone function of temporary agency work:

  • From unemployment to work. In the Netherlands, 33% of unemployed jobseekers return to employment through the sector. In France and Italy, 40% of people coming to temporary agency work were previously unemployed. In Germany, more than 60% of temporary agency workers starting in 2011 were unemployed or had never worked before;
  • From temporary to permanent jobs. In Belgium, 48% of temporary agency workers are using agency work to improve their chances of finding direct employment;
  • From education to work. Temporary agency work provides the first working experience for many young people. Under 25s represent 37% of agency workers in Belgium, 46% in the Netherlands and 33% in Italy;
  • Target groups with 31% of agency workers in the Netherlands belong to being ethnic minorities, long term unemployed, or disabled. It also provides work for older workers transitioning out of labour markets, with the share of over 40s workers doubling between 2002 and 20011 in Italy.


Commenting on the report, Eurociett President Annemarie Muntz stated “Temporary agency work clearly has a vital role of facilitating labour market transitions. However, in order for the maximum potential benefit to be felt, unjustified restrictions to the sector such as sectoral bans must be removed, as called for in the EU Directive on temporary agency work”.


“The Role of Temporary Agency Work and Labour Market Transitions in Europe” was commissioned by Eurociett and UNI Europa and carried out by Wilke, Maack and Partner in cooperation with partners in France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Belgium[1]. This research was part of a joint project, co-funded by the European Commission, and it was conducted as part of the activities of Eurociett and UNI Europa as part of their 2011/2012 social dialogue work plan.


In view of the results of the report, Eurociett President Annemarie Muntz and Oliver Rothig, UNI Europa Regional Secretary signed a set of joint recommendations and put them forward to the European Commission. These recommendations stress the need to achieve appropriate regulation of temporary agency work especially through the full implementation of the Directive on temporary agency work (208/104/EC). Eurociett and UNI also encourage social dialogue and cooperation between public, private and third sector employment services as a means to bringing about transitions in the labour market.


The two EU social partners also call for further research into the stepping stone function of temporary agency work and emphasise that temporary agency workers should be on an equal footing with other non traditional forms of work in terms of access to social protection and social charges. Eurociett and Uni Europa invite governments to involve the sectoral social partners in the implementation of active labour market policies  and call for the promotion and exchange of further best practices of initiatives that foster effective transitions for agency workers.



[1]               ORSEU Lille, IRES Rome, Institute for Employment Studies London and Lentic/University of Liege.