A remarkable trend in the past decade has been the growth of temporary agency employment. Even in a European, continental welfare state like Flanders (Belgium), where labour market flexibility is rather small compared to more liberal welfare states, temporary agency employment is a moot point in both public and academic milieus. Some researchers have argued that the flexible character of temporary agency employment allows employers to reduce training costs and to respond to fluctuations on the demand side, which is necessary for their competitiveness. Others emphasise that agency jobs are associated with job insecurity, low wages, a lack of benefits, little training, no job prospects, a lot of working time flexibility, minimal trade union representation and problematic triadic employment relations. The above mentioned aspects are components of the multidimensional approach of precarious employment, which is chosen as the theoretical background of this study. Furthermore, several of these dimensions are associated with poor health and well-being. This article aims at contributing to the debate concerning temporary agency employment by looking at the perception of temporary agency workers themselves. Specifically, in this article is reported on the perception of the dimensions of precarious employment by temporary agency workers in Flanders and how they link their employment situation with their health and well-being. For this purpose, semi-structured interviews with 15 temporary agency workers were conducted and analysed from a phenomenological perspective. The results reveal among others feelings of powerlessness, insecurity, discouragement, frustration,shame, inferiority, freedom, challenge and hope, associated with the dimensions of precarious employment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaper presented at the 19th Qualitative Health Research Conference 2013. Halifax, Canada
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2013
Event19th Qualitative Health Research Conference - QHR 2013 - Halifax, Canada
Duration: 27 Oct 201329 Oct 2013


Conference19th Qualitative Health Research Conference - QHR 2013

    Research areas

  • precarious employment, qualitative research, temporary agency employment, well-being

ID: 2357058