Temporary Agency Work and Labour Flexibility in 3 Countries: Can the ‘Playing Field’ be Levelled

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Temporary Agency Work and Globalisation Beyond Flexibility and Inequality, 2016, pp. 71 - 94
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There are many strands to the literature on the development of agency employment. Research to date has covered labour use strategies of employing organisations (Conley, 2002); the development and strategies of agencies (Peck and Theodore, 1998); the experience of those working on agency assignments (Forde, 2001) and the implications for labour market functioning (Gebel, 2010). Four developments stand out around agency employment internationally, namely, its growth in terms of the numbers of workers and assignments; its spread across all sectors and occupations; its incorporation and insertion into all areas of the labour market; and its internationalisation. The aim of this chapter is to advance understanding with regard to the diverse patterns of agency work in different countries, focusing on institutional and comparative analysis with regard to four key areas outlined in Figure 4.1. Agency employment and its development are examined in the context of three countries (Australia, Germany and Singapore) that have strong growth and stable economies, but with different forms and systems of labour regulation. These issues will be discussed in the context of the following questions in relation to temporary agency work in Australia, Germany and Singapore (as outlined in Figure 4.1):
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