“It’s difficult to make plans when you don’t know where you will be working this time next year,” said “Caroline” (not her real name), a consultant who has worked consecutive CDD contracts
Luxembourg employers are missing out on highly qualified staff while workers are being destined to precarious careers because of a growing culture of temporary contracts.
The Chamber of Employees recently noted that the number of temporary jobs held by residents rose by 190% since 2003. In its “Le Travail Temporaire” report (PDF) published on 18 September 2018, it recorded 9% of working residents (21,900) in temporary posts, a proportion which was lower than the 16% eurozone average.
Yet, this rises further when one includes cross-border workers, who make up 45% of the labour force. Cross-border workers in France were the most impacted, with 12% working in temporary roles, be they apprenticeships/internships, agency temp work or on fixed-term or CDD contracts, compared with 6% in Belgium and Germany, respectively.
“It’s difficult to make plans when you don't know where you will be working this time next year,” said “Caroline” (not her real name), a consultant who has worked consecutive CDD contracts with different employers since graduating in 2011 with a masters in organisational engineering and management systems.
Having been hired in the aviation sector and various banks on internships and then CDD contracts, Caroline has spent periods between missions stretching out what little money she had. And when she did land contracts, she found herself often under-employed.
“I was always waiting for people to ask me to do something. You hear of burn-out, I suffered from bore-out. It’s hard, psychologically,” she told Delano. As a consultant on a CDD, she explained that she rarely benefited from the same training as colleagues on a permanent contract or CDI, making it harder to compete for other jobs. As she scrimped and saved until the next job, it meant holidays were few and far between.
“You’re on holiday when you’re unemployed but it’s not quite the same thing […] Fortunately, I’m not in a situation where money is a problem,” she said, adding that she has no student debt. But, the lack of a fixed position has impacted her confidence in job interviews and is leading her to consider an entirely new career path in delivery and logistics. “At least I will be happy in myself and know that it’s regular hours,” she said.
From CDD to CDI
The Chamber of Employees, in its report, observed that the use of temporary contracts in Luxembourg has grown steadily since the 1980s and 1990s following a wave of labour reforms. At one point they were mooted as a stepping stone for a permanent contract, however, the same report showed this was less becoming the case, with around half of people stuck in the CDD loop, like Caroline.
The chamber said they should not be used as an economic policy, because they push workers into situations of financial difficulty. It further suggests that the CDI would serve employers better in the medium term because they can then maintain the know-how and experience of staff, boosting productivity.