Non-standard (alternatively, flexible) employment has become common in the Netherlands, and viewed as an important weapon for combating youth unemployment. However, if such jobs are 'bad', non-standard employment becomes a matter of concern. In addition, non-standard employment may hit the least qualified, excluding them from the primary segment of the labour market, where 'good' jobs are found. We first examine whether less-educated school leavers more often end up in a job with a non-standard employment contract than the higher educated. Then, we investigate the effect of having a non-standard employment contract on job advantages in terms of wages. The data come from three large-scale Dutch school leaver surveys as held in 2001.The results show: (a) less-educated school leavers indeed are more likely to have a non-standard contract than more highly educated ones, while (b) those in non-standard employment earn less in their jobs. A substantial part of these differences can be ascribed to the segment of the labour market in which school leavers work. Copyright © 2005 BSA Publications Ltd®.