jobs that are "contingent," i.e., are insecure in the sense of being of limited duration. Analyses of data from the February 1995 Current Population Survey (see Kalleberg et al., 1997) suggest that about 18 percent of men and women in nonstandard jobs (compared with only 5.4 percent of men and women in regular, full-time jobs) have jobs that are contingent. Nonstandard workers also tend to receive lower wages than regular full-time workers with similar personal characteristics and educational qualifications, although the extent of these wage gaps shrink once occupation, industry, and union status are taken into account. Workers in nonstandard work arrangements are also much less likely to receive fringe benefits, such as health insurance and pensions.
Some have pointed out that since the majority of employees in the United States never enjoyed the benefits of the "standard," lifetime, career employment system (e.g., working for one employer over the life of a career) in the first place, the shift to nonstandard work arrangements may not be that great a change for the labor force on average (Cappelli, 1999). Nonstandard work arrangements existed before standard employment relations did; internalized, hierarchical employment relations did not replace market-based ones until the middle part of the 20th century in the United States (see Jacoby, 1985). Furthermore, nonstandard work arrangements never disappeared from the economy, and a peripheral workforce has been used fairly consistently as a buffer to protect the jobs of "permanent" employees (Morse, 1969; Harrison, 1994).
Nonstandard work arrangements may be advantageous for some workers if they enable them to advance their careers. For example, a recent study by the National Association of Staffing Services (1994) found that 78 percent of surveyed workers take temporary jobs in order to get a chance to obtain a full-time job. However, analyses of the 1995 Current Population Survey data suggest that only about 4 percent of men and 6 percent of women who are regular full-time employees previously worked in a nonstandard work arrangement for their current employer. In particular, agency temporaries, on-call workers, part-timers, and some types of contract workers are more likely than regular full-time employees to experience employment instability (change employers, become unemployed, involuntarily drop out of labor