Anna Baranowska, Michael Gebel, Irena Kotowska
The role of fixed term contracts at labour market entry in Poland: stepping stones, screening devices, traps or search subsidies?

Work, Employment and Society, 2011: 25, Heft 4, S. 777-793
ISSN: 0950-0170

Poland has become an interesting outlier in Europe in terms of employment flexibility, with an extremely high incidence of fixed-term contracts, particularly at labour market entry. In this article, detailed retrospective data from the Polish School Leavers Survey are used to analyse the dynamics of entry and exit from fixed-term contracts. The results show that neither firm-based vocational training nor diplomas from more selective tertiary education institutions provide graduates better access to secure entry positions. Regarding exit dynamics, transition patterns from fixed-term contracts into unemployment suggest that the timing of exits often coincides with the date of becoming eligible to collect unemployment benefits. The results also imply that, in Poland, fixed-term contracts might serve employers by helping them to identify the best workers.