Fitting in and being unique: How online aesthetic advice from temporary work agencies legitimises exclusions

Laura Vonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This article investigates the aesthetic advice posted by temporary employment agencies on their websites. These agencies organise a substantial part of the Dutch labour market and they are known to apply exclusionary practices in their strategies of recruitment and selection in order to meet employers’ preferences. This article sheds light on (1) the content of the advice; (2) how it legitimises the importance of aesthetics for finding work; and (3) in what ways the advice serves the purposes of the agencies. An in-depth content analysis illustrates how the advice has the potential to reproduce exclusions, thus helping employment agencies adhere to employers’ exclusionary requests. Creating online content that generates traffic to the websites in this case causes a circular logic in which the importance of aesthetics is self-reinforcing. The study illustrates that the seemingly neutral and empty advice posted on websites may enforce exclusions in the temporary work labour market.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2023

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