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Job quality for temporary agency workers and client organization employees at a Swedish manufacturing plant

Chapter in book
Authors Kristina Håkansson
Tommy Isidorsson
Published in Tommy Isidorsson och Julia Kubisa (red.) Job Quality in an Era of Flexibility - Experiences in a European Context
Pages 177-199
ISBN 9781138561595
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Oxon & New York
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Centre for Global Human Resource Management
Pages 177-199
Language en
Keywords agency work, assignment, buffer, collective agreement, competence, employability, employment, employment quality, flexibility, formal training, insecurity, job quality, job insecurity, job security, numerical flexibility, open-ended contracts, participation, permanent contracts, precariat, segmentation, skill development, skills, temporary contracts, tenure, trade union, training, user firm, wage, work quality, working conditions,
Subject categories Work Sciences, Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


In the chapter Kristina Håkansson and Tommy Isidorsson discuss job quality in terms of job security and employability in workplaces using temporary agency workers. The general picture from previous research is that temporary agency workers have lower job quality due to a more insecure position compared to workers in other types of employment relations. Most studies are done in contexts where the agency workers have temporary contracts lasting for the time of the assignment or lack the rights to pay in-between assignments. This study fills this gap and investigate job security and employability for temporary agency workers when their working conditions are equal to that of user firm employees. The aim is to elucidate and explain how job quality expressed as job security and employability is perceived in workplaces using temporary agency workers. We have selected a ‘best case’ situation involving temporary agency workers who share the same work tasks as user firm employees and who are highly integrated within the work organization. Our analysis show no difference concerning perceived employability. However, they differ in job security. The most important explanation for temporary agency workers’ lack of job security is the lack of skill development offered by their employer, i.e. the temporary work agency.

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