Temps are happier and healthier than permanent staff

Temporary workers are happier and more healthy than permanent workers, according to new research from the Department of Management at King’s College London.

The survey of 5,000 workers across seven European countries, including 642 from the UK, reveals that temp staff are happier than their permanent colleagues across a host of factors.

For example, 31% of permanent staff agreed with the statement “work causes anxiety”, compared with 16% of temp workers, while 21% of permanent staff agreed that “work makes me feel depressed”, compared to 11% of temps.

On the issue of workplace health, 68% of permanent staff said they had been off sick in the past year, compared to 60% of temp staff, while 81% of permanent workers have attended work while sick in the past 12 months, compared to 68% of temps.

Professor David Guest, the director of the UK research, said: “Two key factors need to be considered. The first is that permanent workers are more likely to feel that their psychological contract with their employer has been in some way violated and this affects their well-being.

“Second, it is not so much that temporary jobs are good but that permanent jobs have got worse. People are working harder, they have less freedom at work and there is a general decline in job satisfaction.

“The research findings suggest that we need to give urgent attention to improving the quality of all jobs, including those of permanent workers,” he added.

The seven countries participating in the study were Belgium, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

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