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Germany – Misconceptions abound on temporary employment

17 September 2013

The issue of temporary work has been at the fore in Germany for a while. No other industry has experienced so much turmoil or seen so many dramatic headlines. Therefore, it is unsurprising that 93.2% of German workers assume that the workforce is made up of between 10% and 35% temporary employees.  

Orizon GmbH, one of Germany’s largest staffing firms, in a recent survey asked people: ‘What do you believe is the proportion of the German workforce engaged in temporary employment?’ The results indicate that there is a gross misconception of the industry.

  • 29.3% of respondents believe that temporary workers make up 35% of the workforce.
  • 37.2% believe that more than 20% of the nearly 42 million workers in Germany as on temporary contracts.
  • 26.7% say that 10% of the workforce are temporary employees.
  • Only 6.8% of respondents were close in their estimation of 2%.

In reality, as of the 30 June 2013, the proportion of temporary employees in the German workforce was 2.2%.

The perception of hourly wages has also been proven as far removed from reality. Of the people responding to the survey, 39.7% believed that the minimum hourly wage for temporary employees is €5.00. In reality, the minimum hourly wage in the West is €8.19 and in the East €7.50.

Minimum wages have been negotiated by collective agreements in 11 industries. The lowest minimum wage is €7.50 per hour for private security services. The highest minimum wage is in mining at €11.53 per hour. A fifth (22%) of temporary workers feel that their minimum wage is too low, while 50% believe that their hourly wage is appropriate.   

Dieter Traub, CEO of Orizon, commented: “Temporary work cannot be the fire brigade for the economy, and thereby overlook the interests of temporary employees. It also cannot be permitted for temporary work to be portrayed as a monster.”  


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