The Characteristics of Casual and Fixed-Term Employment: Evidence from the HILDA Survey

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 15/03

Date: June 2003


Mark Wooden
Diana Warren


It is widely assumed that non-standard employment arrangements, and especially casual employment, involve employment conditions that are inferior to more traditional employment arrangements. This paper uses data from the first wave of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to examine this issue. Specifically, data on job satisfaction are used to proxy job quality. These data suggest that workers do not necessarily see non-standard employment as undesirable. First, workers on fixed-term contracts are found to be much more satisfied with their jobs than other workers. Second, the lower levels of job satisfaction among casual employees are restricted to those working full-time, and even then the size of the effect is only marked among men.

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