In Britain, about 7% of male employees and 10% of female employees are in temporary jobs. This proportion has been relatively stable over the 1990s. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, we confirm the popular perception that temporary jobs are generally not desirable when compared to permanent employment. Temporary workers have lower levels of job satisfaction, receive less training and are less well-paid. There is some evidence that fixed-term contracts are a stepping stone to permanent work. Women who start in fixed-term employment and move to permanent jobs fully catch up to those who start in permanent jobs.