Employers’ views on flexible employment contracts for younger workers: Benefits, downsides and societal outlook

Lin Rouvroye*, Hendrik Peter van Dalen, C.J.I.M. Henkens, J.J. Schippers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Employers are instrumental in the growth of non-standard employment, which exposes predominantly younger workers to higher levels of insecurity. Using an interdisciplinary theoretical lens, this article identifies which considerations, both positive and negative, underlie employers’ decision making with regard to the use of flexible contracts for younger workers and discusses how employers perceive future implications of an increasingly flexible labour market. Findings are based on interviews with 26 managers, HR professionals and directors working in different sectors of industry in the Netherlands: local government, education, health care, retail, corporate services and transport and logistics. While acknowledging benefits to the use of flexible contracts, interviewed employers also reported downsides to this practice. Using flexible contracts complicates retention of young talent, deters investment in training, negatively affects social morale on the work floor and puts pressure on younger workers. Interviewees did not deem employers primarily responsible for monitoring societal consequences of an increasingly flexible labour market and often did not see the bigger picture of how increased flexibility could have negative societal consequences. The findings suggest that corrective actions will not come from the side of employers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberARTN 0143831X211053378
Pages (from-to)1934-1957
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Employers
  • flexible employment
  • Young Workers
  • flexibility


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