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Seminar: Worker hard and soft skills and temporary help work outcomes

Tinbergen Institute

We generate insights into worker soft and hard skills and employment outcomes in the temporary help industry, which accounts for a disproportionate share of low-wage workers and is an important port-of-entry for these workers into employment. We find that temporary help workers are terminated for performance problems at strikingly high rates and primarily for “soft skill” deficiencies. Hard and soft skill deficits are major barriers to workers staying employed, subsequent offers of employment, and securing a permanent job. Workers with hard and soft skills deficits cited on prior temporary assignments also suffer a wage penalty on subsequent assignments (when offered). Joint paper with Susan N. Houseman.

Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, room 1.01


  • Carolyn Heinrich (VanderBilt University)


Gustav Mahlerplein 117,
1082 MS Amsterdam