How common is temporary employment in EU countries?
Percentage of employees (15 – 64 years old) with temporary contract – (2017)
27 million employees aged 15 to 64 in the European Union (EU) had a temporary contract in 2017
This represents 14.3% of all employees in the EU. Temporary employment has fluctuated between 12.7% and 14.5% of all employees over the last 15 years.
In 2017, this proportion was slightly higher for women (14.8%) than for men (13.8%). It was also higher in the euro area (16.0%) than in the EU.
Significant discrepancies can be observed in the use of temporary work contracts across the EU Member States and between age groups.
Highest share of employees with a temporary contract in Spain and Poland; lowest in Romania and Lithuania
Over one in four employees in Spain (26.8%) and Poland (26.1%), and more than one in five in Portugal (22.0%), the Netherlands (21.5%) and Croatia (20.6%) had a temporary contract in 2017.
At the opposite end of the scale, temporary employees accounted for less than 2% of all employees in both Romania (1.2%) and Lithuania (1.7%). Low shares were also recorded in Latvia (3.0%), Estonia (3.1%), Bulgaria (4.4%), Malta and the United Kingdom (both 5.6%).
Young employees clearly the most affected
Young people held by far the highest share of temporary contracts. Last year in the EU, nearly 8 million young people, or almost half (43.9%) of employees aged 15 to 24, were employed under a temporary contract.
Across the EU Member States, more than seven in ten young employees had a temporary contract in Spain (73.3%) and Slovenia (71.6%). Around two-thirds of them had such contracts in Poland (68.2%) and Portugal (65.9%), while about six in ten were affected in Italy (61.9%), Croatia (60.8%) and France (58.0%).
In contrast, the share of young people working under a temporary contract was less than 10% in Romania (4.1%), Latvia (6.7%) and Lithuania (6.8%).It was below 20% in Estonia (10.6%), Bulgaria (12.7%), Malta (13.0%), the United Kingdom (14.5%) and Hungary (17.6%).
Percentage of employees with temporary contract , % (2017)