Germany: Working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Job quality,
  • Published on: 18 desember 2013



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Working conditions of young workers are marked by an increase of temporary jobs, an above EU-27 share of female part time work and an above EU-27 poverty risk (2010). However, there are wide gaps in job quality by region (East/West), education (skilled/unskilled), gender and sector. Young workers feel less stressed than older workers, but workers up to 25 years are affected by above-average physical strains and workers older than 25 by challenges similar to older groups. Work intensity increased in recent years. Public measures do not address working conditions, but combat unemployment of absolvents of schools and training.

Introduction

This EWCO CAR is specifically focused on the group of “young entrants to the labour market”. This group includes all young people (between 15 and 30 years old) who have recently entered into the labour market (i.e., people with a work experience shorter than 1-2 years in the labour market), with relative independence of their age and for whom work is their main and core activity. This definition excludes young people for whom studies are their main activity but who combine their studies with some remunerated activity as part of their training programmes (e.g. apprenticeships in dual systems), as well as unemployed young people, even if they are actively looking for a job (see Background note for more detailed information on the concept of young entrants to be considered in the research).

The CAR coordinating team is conscious that such as “narrow” definition of “young entrants to the labour market” can make difficult the identification and collection of relevant information on the topic. Therefore, and in the case no national information is available using this “narrow” definition, National Correspondents can use a “proxy” definition of “young entrant to the labour market” as any young person (i.e. between 15 and 30 years old) who is in employment, irrespectively of the number of years of experience that he/she has in the labour market (again, unemployed young people are excluded from the analysis).

The questionnaire focuses on the following topics:

  • General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups (around 700 words)

  • Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country (around 600 words)

  • Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis (around 500 words)

  • Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market (around 500 words)

  • Final commentary on the main results (around 100 words)

Block 1: General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national research/studies) on a number of working conditions-related variables specifically related to young entrants to the labour market in comparison to other age groups. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified in relation to other age groups, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

Suggested extension of this section: around 700 words

Preliminary remark: Research and public policies focus on school-to-(apprenticeship) training transition (‘first threshold’) while research on apprenticeship training/university-to-employment transition (‘second threshold’) and data on working conditions of entrants with one to two years of work experience does not exist. This is why this report will give information on working conditions of young workers rather than on new entrants. Also, available data most often does not meet the given age thesholds of 30 years.

1.1 Career and employment security issues

Satisfaction at work; employment status, presence of precarious and/or atypical forms of employment (temporary workers, part-time, agency work); Pay systems and levels/conditions; Autonomy at work; Fear to lose employment; Working time issues (number of worked hours, working time flexibility), etc

Youth’s satisfaction at work is slightly higher (DGB Index Gute Arbeit 2010) and fear of job loss (BAUA, Stress Report 2012) is slightly lower than job satisfaction of older workers, which is a known difference by age also reported by Eurofound’s Youth and work report. This is despite of a rise of insecurity in accessing permanent employment and significant gaps in job quality between young workers.

Recent surveys based on European Labour Force Survey (LFS) data show the following trends:

  • Over the 2000s, employment of young workers stagnated, while there was an employment growth of workers older than 30 years. Young workers experienced a decline in standard jobs and an increase in non-standard employment while employment of older workers rested on a growth of standard and of non-standard jobs. In case of young workers, the spreading of non-standard work was spurred by temporary jobs, in case of older age groups it was due to part time employment. From 1999 to 2009, the share of young workers in temporary jobs grew from 15% to 21% while the share of workers aged 30 to 49 years increased from 4% to 6% (Schmeißer et al. 2012). In 2012, the employment rate of 15 to 20 year olds stood at a low 25.8% and the rate of 20 to 25 year olds at 63.9%. In contrast, the share of employed 25 to 30 year olds deteriorated from 75.6% in 2000 to 69.6% in 2004, but has been growing since the 2004 labour market reforms. In 2012 it stood at 77.3%. This growth has been low if compared with the employment growth of workers aged 30 to 65 years which rose form 68% in 2000 to 78% in 2012 (micro census data, own calculation).

  • Young female workers are less willing to work part time than older women, but due to missing child care facilities, the gender pay gap and the legacy of the western German male bread winner model, a robust share of 36% of female employees aged 18 to 39 years worked part time from 2005 to 2010 (female workers aged 40 to 59 years: 52%), which is above EU-27 average (29% in 2010). The share of younger male part timers grew from 9% to 11% (EU-27: 9% in 2010) while the share of older male part timers stood at 6% (Brenke 2011).

The table below gives the most recent data on forms of employment by age. Young workers stand out by fixed term contracts and by an above average share of temporary agency workers.

Table 1: Standard and non-standard employment of workers by age in %, 2011

Age

Standard employment

Non-standard employment, total

On fixed term contract

Part time

Marginal part time

Temporary agency work

15-25 years

63.9

36.1

27.2

8.9

8.1

4.6

25 to 35 years

65.7

34.3

14.4

10.9

5.9

3.1

35 to 45 years

65.8

34.2

7.0

16.8

8.2

2.4

45 to 55 years

70.7

29.3

5.4

19.3

8.5

2.0

55 to 65 years

68.4

31.6

4.3

11.8

11.8

1.1

Notes: Own calculation. % share of dependent standard and non-standard employees. Figures exclude apprentices and trainees.

Source: destatis. Atypische Beschäftigung. Erwerbstätige nach Erwerbsform, 2008 and 2011

  • Workers up to an age of 25 years differ from older ones by higher shares of unskilled, of blue collar and of temporary workers as well as by a lower share of high skilled workers. According to the micro census (including trainees, students at work and soldiers) by the Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt, destatis), 51.3% of the 15 to 25 year olds are low wage earners compared to 22.7% of the 25 to 35 year olds. Overall, young workers in standard and non-standard employment are more in risk of earning low wages than older workers.

According to EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), the at-risk-of poverty rate of workers aged 18 to 24 years is above EU-27 average. It amounted to 9.7% in 2010 (EU-27: 9.2%) and was higher for female workers (10.2%) than for male workers (9.3%) (Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 17(12022).

Table 2: Low wage earners by form of employment in %, 2010

Age

Total

Standard employment

Non-standard employment, total

On fixed term contract

Part time

Marginal part time

Temporary agency work

15-25 years

51.3

31.4

68.1

48.3

51.9

89.1

76.0

25 to 35 years

22.7

13.1

44.1

23.8

27.3

82.3

64.5

35 to 45 years

16.3

8.8

42.2

28.9

16.1

82.1

63.9

45 to 55 years

16.2

8.9

48.2

39.2

19.1

84.2

69.3

55 to 65 years

20.0

10.1

57.5

46.4

23.9

84.0

68.6

Source: destatis. Niedriglohn und Beschäftigung, table 5.2.

The 2011 national working conditions survey by the Federal Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAUA) indicates that young workers work more weekly hours than older workers.

Table 3: Working time according to age (in%)
 

15-24 years

25-34 years

35-44 years

45-54 years

55-64 years

Total

Real weekly working hours (more than 48 hours)

8

15

13

13

12

13

Real weekly working hours (40 to 48 hours)

24

26

22

21

19

22

Shift work

17

13

14

13

11

13

Saturday work

71

64

64

65

60

64

Sunday and holiday work

36

40

38

38

35

38

On-call duty

18

19

18

17

16

18

Rest periods cannot always be taken

23

28

25

27

25

26

Source: Stress Report 2012, Tabl. 70, p. 204

A 2008 working condition survey on young entrants on behalf of the Federal Labour Ministry finds that about two third of the workers aged 18 to 34 years held a non-standard contract at least once in their career. In retrospect, 37% reported work experience in more than two non-standard jobs (Fuchs 2008).

1.2 Skills development

The participation of 18 to 24 year olds in employer-funded continuing training is below total average, whereas the participation of 25 to 34 year olds is about average. The data by the Adult Education Survey also indicates that the former groups takes up self-paid training more often than the older ones.

Table 4: Participation in continuing training in 2010
 

Total (all age groups)

18-24 years

25-34 years

Employer-funded training

36%

Men (24%)

Women (27%)

Men (34%)

Women (36%)

Self-paid training

13%

Men (17%)

Women (22%)

Men (13%)

Women (12%)

Informal learning

26%

19% (Men)

25% (Women)

25%

Notes: Full- and part-timers and apprentices

Source: destatis, Weiterbildung 2012, p.23, table 6.1. Weiterbildungsbeteiligung 2010

1.3 Health and well being

Long term transition periods from vocational training/higher education to permanent employment are expected to impact on health. But there is no data on the impact of insecurity and non-standard employment of young workers (Langhoff 2010).

BAUA survey data report substantial differences in working conditions between workers younger than 25 years and older ones. The younger ones are considerably more exposed to physical strains, to monotonous and to standardised work than workers aged 25 years or older. They have a lower autonomy to decide on the work load and on the ways how to perform a task than older workers and have to work very fast. Workers older than 25 years are challenged by multitasking, time and performance pressure to a similar extent as workers in their thirties and older. Overall, younger workers differ from older ones by a higher exposure to risky and biological substances.

However, young workers voice less concern about work-related stress (3%) than older workers (4%). But the survey findings reveal that the 25 to 34 year olds are affected by psycho-vegetative health strains as often as older workers.

Table 5: Autonomy at work (in %)
 

15-24 years

25-34 years

35-44 years

45-54 years

55-64 years

Total

Influence on workload

24

29

32

34

37

32

Can decide when to take a break

51

58

56

55

56

56

Has influence on how to do the job

49

64

68

70

72

67

Works at limits

13

13

17

18

18

16

Work has to be done very fast

42

40

40

38

36

39

Strong time and performance pressure

42

52

53

53

50

52

Multitasking

51

60

61

58

55

58

Source: Stress Report, p.203 Table 69, p 204 table 7

1.4 Reconciliation of working and non-working life

According to BAUA survey data, 40% of young workers up to 24 years say they have problems in reconciling work and private life, compared to 42% of the 25 to 34 year olds (total 42%).

It is to be noted that young working couples with children tend to ‘solve’ problems in reconciling working and family life by the women interrupting their careers. In 2011, employment of young mothers aged 28 years stood at 40%, whereas employment of women of the same age without children stood at 80%. Employment of men in their late twenties with and without children was at about 80% (destatis, 2012). This is to be attributed to the deficiencies in public child care provision, to the gender pay gap and to western German legacies of the male bread winner model.

Block 2: Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market, for a series of variables. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

Suggested extension of this section: around 600 words

Preliminary remark: Due to the eastern German economy, young workers in eastern Germany face considerably more challenges than their western German counterparts. However, data on regional differences is poor and will not be given below.

The 2012 data report by the Federal Institute for Vocational Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, BIBB) shows that out of skilled new entrants (30 months after termination of apprenticeship training)

  • 53% of eastern and 62% of western German entrants held a standard contract,

  • 43.9% of the eastern and 35.9% of the western Germans held a part time contract,

  • 73.8% of the eastern German entrants worked full time compared to 77.3% of those in the West,

  • 14.7% of the eastern Germans worked part time (standard) and 11.5% held a marginal part time contract compared to 15.9% (standard part time) and 6.8% (marginal part time) of the western German entrants.

2.1 Personal characteristics of young entrants

Yes, see tables 2 and 4 above. Please note the remarks above on differences in the composition of the work force. In 2011, 37.4% of the 15 to 20 year olds were blue collar workers compared to 29.1% of the 20 to 25 year olds and 21.4% of the 25 to 30 year olds (destatis, micro census).

Also, labour law as well as collective agreements tend to reward seniority. This is challenged by the EU Equal Treatment Directive (2000/78) (see below, bloc 3)

Working conditions survey data by gender (on young workers) is not available.

There is a substantial difference in regard to employment contracts and pay. A BIBB study on precarious working conditions of apprenticeship absolvents finds that transition periods into employment show different results by gender. Young men do not access standard employment as often as young women but hold a standard contract more frequently when they are in their late twenties. There is no change over age in case of women. The share of men and women working in “median precarious” jobs (temporary standard employment) and in “high precarious” jobs (temporary part time or marginal part) decreases over age, but it does so much less for women. Also, women drop out of employment more often than men.

Table 6: Employment and quality of employment by age cohorts (in %)
 

Men

Women

 

20-25 years

25-30 years

20-25 years

25-30 years

Unemployed (ILO definition)

12.4

11.8

10.4

9.9

Standard employment (standard full time or part time)

42.3

47.5

44.2

44.2

Median precarious jobs ness (temporary full time)

19.1

14.2

16.2

12.3

  • risk of precariousness

  • part time or marginal part time)

7.8

2.9

8.1

7.6

Self-employed

1.6

4.0

1.0

2.1

In continuing training

14.2

18.1

13.8

15.1

Not in employment

2.4

1.4

6.3

8.8

Notes: micro census 2005, 2007

Source: Datenreport. Berufsbildungsbericht 2010, p.354, table C2.2.1

The Higher Education Information System (Hochschul-Informations-System, HIS) conducts non-representative surveys on the employment situation of absolvents from tertiary education five years after exams. The findings also show strong differences in transition to employment and working conditions by gender. Overall, women hold temporary contracts more often than men and interrupt their careers because of care responsibilities while men rarely do. Data on absolvents from 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2005 show wide gender gaps in employment contracts. Out of the 2005 absolvents, 28% of men and 20% of women held a leading position five years after exams. 9% of men and 14% of women worked in jobs below their qualification. Generally, women are more concerned about their earnings than men.

Table 7: Employment of 2005 higher education graduates five years after passing exams (in %)
 

Standard full time

Standard part time

Temporary full time

Temporary part time

 

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Univ Appl. Science

78

62

1

13

9

11

1

5

Univ.

60

49

3

13

20

17

4

9

Notes: Other (self-employment, training, internships, etc: 13% men, 13% women)

Source: HIS (2012), p.101, table 3.4c

The gender pay gap widens over age. In 2010, the gender pay gap of workers up to 24 years was 2% and of workers aged 26 to 29 years was 9%.

Higher educational levels impact positively on the transition to standard employment. This holds for PhDs competing with M.A, for M.A. competing with B.A.(HIS report), for absolvents of a three year apprenticeship training competing with absolvents of a two year training as well as for skilled workers holding a high school diploma compared to upper secondary school leavers. Effects of educational level and school marks of trainees on finding employment cannot be compensated by age or long term job searching (BIBB 2012). In result, working conditions of low skilled workers bear high risks in regard to job tenure, pay and work demands.

Micro census data from 2007 show that 7.7% of unskilled workers aged 20 to 34 years held a marginal part time contract compared to 5.4% of skilled young workers. Also, the unskilled work in only eight sectors compared to 23 sectors accessed by skilled workers (BIBBreport, 17/12).

According to a 2010 report by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesanstalt für Arbeit, BA) estimated job tenure of unskilled young workers is 20 months compared to 40 months of skilled young workers. 27% of unskilled workers hold part time contracts (18% of unskilled men, 40% of unskilled young women). The share of low wage earners amounts to 40%.

There is no data on working conditions by educational level. But HIS findings reveal that high educational levels does not guarantee high job quality. University graduates voice concern about high time and performance pressure, pay levels, job insecurity and short temporary contracts.

Workers with a migrant background have more problems finding an apprenticeship post or employment than nationals (DE1012019Q and DE1104019I). Data on differences in working conditions of young workers by national/non-national background are not existent. A report on behalf of the Federal Agency for Migrants and Refugees (Bundesanstalt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, BAMF) says that differences in employment status by national background are lower for younger workers than for older workers, but also shows that differences in employment status a more pronounced for women than for men.

Table 8: Job category of 15 to 25 year old workers by migrant/non migrant background (in %)
 

No migrant background

Migrant background

 

Men

Women

Men

Women

Blue collar

47.3

19.9

48.8

24.3

White collar

45.5

77.3

45.4

72.9

Civil servants

5.5

1.5

3.1

-

Part time

5.1

11.7

12.9

20.5

Notes: workers liable to social security contribution, excludes marginal part timers

Source: Seebaß, K., Siegert, M. (2011), pp.43-45.

The differences reflect traditional features of the German labour market segregation by gender, education and national background.

2.2 Occupational characteristics

There is no single answer to this question as research studies either investigate on employment contracts or on working conditions. Generally speaking female-dominated sectors pose a higher risk of low job quality for skilled workers than male dominated sectors.

Health and social services, retail, hotels and restaurants (HORECA), economic services and construction employ about half of all unskilled workers holding no school-leaving certificate (BIBB 2010). These sectors are also marked by low wages (sectoral minimum wages exist for assistant care workers, industrial cleaners and construction workers); HORECA is known for overlong and unsocial working hours (HORECA DE1109019Q). However, there is no data on the quality of working conditions of young workers in most of these sectors.

Regarding skilled entrants, BIBB (2010) finds that the retail sector and the hairdressing/body care sector provide the most precarious jobs (in terms of temporary contracts and risk of unemployment). In contrast, young mechanics in the manufacturing industries and skilled workers in the banking and insurance sector have high chances of finding a standard job.

The health and social sector stands out by an above average share of (female) part time and temporary skilled young workers (BIBB 2012). Also, the DGB Index Gute Arbeit 2010 finds that young health service workers (67%) and construction workers (60%) suffer most from time pressure.

HIS findings show that the social sciences and humanities differ from the economics and life sciences by a higher share of temporary contracts and lower pay.

No survey data to answer this question. Also, there is no one fits all answer to this. BIBB reports that small establishments up to 49 employees and medium sized establishments provide more often further training for young workers than large companies.

The reason why low wages and poor working conditions are more often found in a number of service sectors such as retail, HORECA and hairdressing might be attributed to the fact that in these industries we find a comparatively high share of SME which often do not have works councils and are more often not covered by collective bargaining.

Block 3: Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis

NCs are kindly requested to provide information on the following items: NCs are kindly requested to provide information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions amongst the group of young entrants to the labour market in comparison to the situation five years ago. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

Suggested extension of this section: around 500 words

3.1 Please provide information on the evolution of working conditions of young labour entrants in the last five years. Have working conditions of this group improved/deteriorated in comparison to the existing situation five years ago (before the economic crisis began)? What are the reasons for these changes?

In regard to non-standard employment, it shows that the long term trend held despite of cyclicalities. The share of workers aged 25 to 34 years on fixed term contract grew from 16.9% in 2007 to 18.8% in 2011 compared to a 0.2% increase of the share of temporary workers aged 35 to 44 years. Recent findings (no differentiation by age) by the Institute for Employment Research (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, IAB) show that temporary contracts spread during the 2008/2009 crisis and declined during the subsequent upswing. In contrast, firm-based indefinite recruitment of workers on fixed term contracts increased shortly before the 2008 crisis, dropped during the crisis in 2009 and increased afterwards. (IAB Aktuell 23.02.2011, establishment panel data).

During the crisis, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of workers (18 to 24 years) dropped from 11.3% in 2008 (EU-27: 9.1%) to 9.7% in 2010 (EU-27: 9.2%) which may be due to (female) marginal part timers loosing employment. The at-risk rate of young female workers declined from 13.4% (2008) to 10.2% (2010) while the rate of young men decreased from 9.6% to 9.3% (Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 17/12022).

Also during the crisis, participation in employer funded continuing training of 18 to 35 year olds decreased from 2007 to 2010 whereas it stood even for older age groups (most recent data, BIBB 2012).

The crisis and the subsequent upswing had a lower impact on young workers than on older ones. The DGB Index finds that in 2010, 56% of the workers up to an age of 35 said that work intensity increased because of the crisis, which was below the work intensity reported by older workers (64%). In 2011 (economic upswing), all age groups indicated an increase in overtime, work and availability during non-working hours, but again these forms of work were more wide spread among older workers (DGB Index 2011). BAUA findings differ on that. They show that workers aged 25 years and more are affected by time and performance pressure to the same extent as workers in their thirties.

Interestingly, BAUA survey data from 2006 and 2011 on 15 to 25 year olds reveal an increase in physical strains and in work by piece rates, performance measurements or time schedules, but a decrease in monotonous work and in work intensity.

Table 9: Work conditions of 15 to 25 year olds (in %)
 

2006

2011

Tiring or painful positions

15.9

21.5

Heavy loads

29.0

31.8

Loud noise

28.8

34.8

Risky substances

7.8

11.2

Smoke, fumes, gas, dust

14.9

18.2

Very high or very low temperture

21.4

24.5

Job is very strongly detailled out

29.4

25.9

Repetitive work

56.8

49.3

Piece rate, performance rate or time schedule is set

34.1

40.2

Stong time or performance pressure

45.1

46.8

Work at limits

16.7

14.6

Source: BAUA; Erwerbstätigenbefragung 2006, 2011

Additional information: Some improvements in working conditions were introduced in response to the EU directive 2000/78. In 2010, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that German legislation on dismissal protection, which provided that all years of service before the age of 25 should be disregarded in calculating service-related notice periods, breached EU 2000/78. German legislation is no longer to be applied.

In 2012, the Federal Labour Court ruled that young workers in public administration are entitled to the same holidays as older workers. The ruling breached the public sector collective agreement that arranges for 26 holidays for workers younger than 30 years, for 27 days for 30-to 39 olds and for 30 days for those older than 40. Subsequently, the regional labour court of Düsseldorf entitled a young private sector employee to the same holidays as older workers of the same company. More court cases are expected to be staged.

3.2 Based on possible existing prospective studies, please provide information on the expected evolution of employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants in your country in the near future (coming 2-3 years)

There are no such studies on working conditions.

Block 4: Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

4.1 Identify main recent national measures/initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by public authorities in order to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for young entrants to the labour market.

There are no Active Labour Market Policies on young entrants apart of those inspired by EU programmes on mobility (EURES; Youth on the Move) and a long standing major funding programme on further career training which is not specifically addressed to young workers. In 2009, the Second Act on Further Career Training (Aufstiegsfortbildungsgesetz, AFBG) was enacted by the national government and the Bundesländer. It provides loans and child allowances for skilled workers to attend long term training to reach a higher qualification. Generally speaking, public policies focus on school-apprenticeship transition rather than on vocational training/tertiary education-labour market transition. Working conditions and job quality of young entrants/workers are not on the agenda.

4.2 Identify main recent initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by social partners (either at national, sector or company level) in order to improve working conditions amongst young entrants to the labour market.

The social partners differ on the need to address the working conditions of young entrants. The employers set a focus on school-to-apprenticeship transition instead (DE1011029I). Non-standard jobs of young entrants are seen as transitory phenomena before reaching permanent employment. Working conditions are to be improved by skilling and by public policies on work-life (family) reconciliation. In contrast, the trade unions see the non-standard forms of work of young workers as pioneering future forms of work and employment. Young workers are regularly surveyed by the DGB Gute Arbeit Index and campaigns for the hiring of trainees are staged. A recent initiative addresses the employment of unskilled young workers.

The main joined initiatives are collective agreements arrange for the permanent employment of trainees (DE1101019Q). In May 2012 the Geman Metalworkers’ Union (IG Metall) and the Baden-Württemberg Employer Association for the Metal and Electrical Industry (Südwestmetall) agreed that employers are required to hire trainees on completion of training. Exceptions are only allowed under defined circumstances but particularly after the company offers more training places than its planned staff requirements. Works council should be consulted before any temporary workers are employed (DE1206019I).

Commentary by the NC

Working conditions of young workers are typically seen as either transitory phenomena or as being marked by an overall rise of temporary contracts. The distribution of part time work is often overlooked. Wide gaps in job quality by gender, educational level and region will pose considerable future problems in regard to income levels, careers, pensions and health.

Birgit Kraemer, WSI

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