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Germany – Atypical employment waning

28 August 2013

The number of workers engaged in ‘atypical’ employment fell during 2012 by 146,000 compared to 2011, according to the German Federal Statistics Office (Destatis). Atypical employment is categorised as fixed term contracts, marginal workers, part-time workers (up to 20 hours per week), and temporary workers.

The proportion of atypical workers fell from 22.4% of the workforce in 2011 to 21.8% in 2012. In 1991 the proportion of atypical workers was 12.8% of the total workforce and has increased almost continuously up to 2007, when it reached its peak of 22.6%. 2012 marked the first year of noticeable decline.

Temporary employment figures have only been recorded since 2006, when they accounted for 1.7% of the total workforce. After peaking at 2.2% in 2011, temporary employment fell to 745,000 representing 2.1% of the workforce.

Marginal employees, those earning less than €400 per month or whose employment does not exceed 50 days or two months per year, also fell, dropping from 7.4% of the total workforce in 2011 to 7% in 2012. Marginal employees have been declining since reaching its peak of 8% in 2007.

Part-time employees account for the largest proportion of atypical employees with 13.8% of the total workforce during 2012. Part-time worker numbers have been steadily dropping since hitting their peak of 14.3% of the workforce in 2006.   

Employees on fixed-term contracts represented 7.5% of the total workforce in 2012, a fall of -0.6% compared with 2011. This drop follows six years of relative stability in the sector, averaging 8% of the total workforce.

In contrast, the number of ‘typical’ employees rose in 2012 by 504,000 to 24.2 million. Typical employment is categorised as full time or part-time for more than 20 hours per week. Full time employee numbers rose from 23.7 million in 2011, equating to 88.6% of the total workforce. Part-time employees (+20 hours) increased to 7.6% in 2012 from 7.4% of the total workforce in 2011.   

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