"The prevalence of temporary contracts of short duration can exacerbate the feeling of insecurity of workers, increasing the volatility of their income and frustrating their careers. The evidence suggests that the poverty rate grows the shorter the duration of the contract, "says the report published on Wednesday by the International Labor Organization (ILO). And in the comparison of the weight of these contracts in Europe, Spain breaks records.
The ILO alerts on the growing risks of precariousness. "After having stabilized between 2014 and 2016, the incidence of temporary work is growing again in Europe. The percentage of temporary workers over the total is increasing especially in Spain, where in 2017 it reached 26.8%, the highest percentage since 2008, "says the ILO document.
The UN agency that brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 countries thus affects a phenomenon already known: the recovery of employment in Spain in recent years has been done, as it happened during the boom of the brick, giving priority to the worst quality contracts.
Of the total temporary contracts that Spain had in 2017, around 60% had a duration of six months or less. A percentage ahead of Croatia, Italy, Belgium and Finland, all of them with more than 50% of very short contracts over the total of temporary ones. At the opposite extreme are Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria, where the weight of contracts of six months or less is below 25% of the total of temporary contracts. In Germany and Denmark, more than one year jobs account for more than half of temporary jobs, while in Spain they are around 10%.
"It is not surprising that countries where the average duration of contracts is relatively short are more likely to register high percentages of involuntary temporary employment," says the report. As a negative example, Spain comes back out, since it is said that it is in this country where more than 85% of temporary employees are in that situation because they did not find an indefinite job. Spain, once again, leads negative aspects of the European labor market. Countries like Belgium, Greece or Italy registered a high percentage too, above 75%. On the contrary, more than 90% of Austrian temporary workers are of their own volition; percentage that in Germany remains at 85%.
The ILO also analyzes what part of part-time employment is explained by a personal decision – either because the affected party wishes to spend more time with the family or because he is studying or is in a traineeship in a company – and which is due to the conditional of a country, unable to offer the worker a full working day.
Woman and temporality
Geography is not the only variable analyzed by the ILO. The gender gap is clear when verifying the difference of the reasons that the workers use to opt for a part-time contract. 34% of women have contracts of a few hours to devote more time to family responsibilities such as caring for children, while in men this percentage drops to 16%. "Once again, these results underscore the importance of public policies aimed at alleviating the burden of family responsibilities that often prevent women from participating 100% in the labor market," says the ILO report.
The UN agency also focuses on the evolution of wages. And he concludes that salaries in 52 rich countries have been driving very low real growth since 2000, always below 2%. In 2016 they grew by 1.2%, and in 2017 by 0.8%. This anemic growth can be attributed to the poor evolution of prices in France and Germany and to "the fall of real wages" in Spain, Italy and Japan. "Despite this, recently published data suggest that nominal growth of wages may be gaining strength in some countries," the text adds. As a counterpoint, the ILO points to three EU countries where the fall in unemployment in 2018 was particularly important: Greece, with a decrease of 2.3%, Portugal (2%) and Spain (1.7%).