Recognising the value of temporary work
Temporary work has enabled the UK to have a very flexible and competitive labour market which even during a recession means we have one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the EU. Some people choose to be a temporary worker due to the freedom, the flexibility and the experience such work can offer. Temporary work provides instant access to employment for everyone from students looking for some extra work to supplement their income to highly skilled professionals who want to stay in their career but on the hours and on the terms they choose.
“Temporary jobs pay less”
When negotiating pay an agency will try to get the highest possible pay rate for the temporary worker as their margin is usually a percentage of the wage costs. It is therefore in the interests of recruitment agencies to gain a competitive wage for their temporary staff.
“Temporary workers are exploited”
Temporary workers hold most of the rights that employees have including 28 days paid holiday a year, Working time rights to breaks and rest time, rights to non-discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, disability, faith, sexual orientation and age, statutory sick pay and statutory maternity/paternity pay.
“Employers use temporary staff instead of permanent staff to save costs”
It is sometimes thought that temps are a cheap option but this is unlikely to be the case. A client company will have to pay the cost of employment for the temporary worker and a margin to the recruitment agency. In many cases temporary workers, particularly those with specific skills, can command a higher rate of pay than their permanent counterparts.
What is the reality of temporary work?
Agency work prevents people from dropping out of the labour market: Agencies keep the labour market flowing, providing workers with swift and easy access to jobs. During a time of rising unemployment, temporary jobs are keeping people in touch with the labour market whilst permanent opportunities are more difficult to come by.
Agency work can allow people a route back into the labour market: Often a temporary job can be an effective stepping stone to permanent employment. Temporary work can also be a route into the labour market particularly for new entrants who can develop skills and experience. Equally older workers choose temporary work as they are seeking to have more flexibility as they approach retirement or even after retiring.
Agency work is a key driver in job creation: Agency work has been a real engine of job creation offering more work opportunities for more people. Some 80 per cent of agency workers in the EU fill jobs that would not have been created if agency work was not available as a flexible workforce solution. If agency workers were not available firms would have to either turn down contracts to manage workloads or expect their permanent workforce to work longer hours.
Temporary agency work is a crucial part of a modern labour market; providing vital flexibility to workers: It allows workers to manage work responsibilities with other demands on their time by offering a broad range of work solutions to meet lifestyle choices or personal circumstances.