Temp workers benefit as employers struggle with skills shortages - REC

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Employers are turning to agency workers to enable business growth as key skills become harder to find, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).


With almost all businesses (98 per cent) reporting they have either ‘none’ or only ‘a little’ capacity to take on more work without more staff, employers are relying on agency workers to meet demand. More than eight in ten employers (84 per cent) now say they hire agency staff to access ‘key strategic skills’, up from 55 per cent citing this reason in April 2013.


REC chief executive Kevin Green says:


“Businesses are clearly finding it difficult to attract people to certain roles. The number of vacancies is currently at record levels but candidate availability is falling. Our data indicates that employers may be shifting focus away from hiring staff, and towards improving the productivity of the workforce they already have.


“The second trend that is starting to emerge is employers hiring more people on short term assignments because they can’t find permanent staff with the skills and that they want to flex their resource to meet volatile demand.”


The monthly survey of UK employers found that:


  • 97 per cent plan to increase or maintain current number of agency workers in the next 3 months.
  • 98 per cent say they will increase or maintain current number of agency workers over the next 4-12 months.
  • 62 per cent plan to hire more permanent employees in the next three months.
  • 70 per cent say they will increase permanent staff over the next 4-12 months
  • 62 per cent of employers say that agency workers earn more than if they were employed on a permanent basis.

The survey also found that in the last year, more than one in five employers (22 per cent) have increased their workforce, three quarters (74 per cent) have made no changes, and only 5 per cent have taken steps to reduce the cost of labour, such as redundancies or a recruitment freeze.



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