Skip to main content
Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

The work we want

Recruitment insights

Global Survey of Forbes 2000 employers by the World Employment Confederation (WEC)

The World Employment Confederation (WEC) commissioned FT Longitude to survey 715 senior executives from around the world, including 680 from Forbes Global 2000 companies and 35 from public sector organisations. The project also included interviews with senior business leaders and global experts in talent planning and the future of work. REC is the UK federation member of WEC and the findings on this page look specifically at the results from UK respondents.

For more detail on the global findings go to Home - The Work We Want (

The WEC survey finds that both around the world and in the UK employers plan to increase their use of agency workers in the next two years. Looking at the WEC findings the most popular reasons given by respondents globally for using agency workers include to ‘increase the agility of our workforce’, to ‘bridge unexpected resourcing gaps’, to bring in ‘specific digital skills that they struggle to find permanent hires for’ and to ‘access a higher calibre of talent than is possible through permanent hires’ as demand dictates. 


A closer look at the findings from UK respondents to the WEC survey shows: 

  • More than 80% use flexible employees (including agency workers, contractors, self-employed workers, workers on call). 
  • 96% of respondents think it important to offer more temporary contracts and 91% think it is important to increase employment of agency workers. 
  • 88% said agency workers bring valuable new perspectives to my organisation which help drive innovation. 
  • 98% said there is a need to build awareness of all the contract types available to workers today and promote free choice for everyone to choose what suits them best. 
  • 86% said their organisation has started working in a more strategic way with HR services providers in order or address talent needs more effectively. 


1.The category 'Rest' is used to encompass all other responses such as Slightly disagree, Strongly disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, and Do not know


Click the bellow buttons to go to the data on the following topics: 

Flexibility & retention   Workforce Migration    Agency workforce  Changing landscape


Workforce flexibility and retention

Traditional approaches are not fit for purpose

In today's constantly shifting business landscape, the approaches we used to find and retain talent in the past are no longer fit for purpose.

90% of leaders say they will need a more flexible workforce in the next two years.

There are many trends driving change

Employers will turn to a wide range of strategies to build flexibility.

Candidate shortage is a key challenge among recruiters/employers.


The majority of organisations have at least a fifth of their workforce as flexible employees


All flexible employees - % of workforce.

Agency workers specifically - % of the workforce.

Work expectations have changed forever


‘The idea of a person following one career path in their lifetime has gone for good. Companies must adapt or get left behind.’

‘Following the pandemic, employees place as much value on having flexibility around where and when they work, as they do on other factors such as compensation.’

‘The idea of a person following one career path in their lifetime has gone for good. Companies must adapt or get left behind.’

Workforce Migration

Labour migration helps fill essential skills gaps


‘If we did not hire workers from abroad we would not be able to fill vital skills gaps at our organisation.’

‘Increased labour migration has allowed my organisation to access talent with different and/or higher levels of skills.’

‘Complex legal barriers to hiring refugees or asylum seekers must be reduced.’

Agency workforce

Employers are using agency workers in new ways


‘Agency workers bring valuable new perspectives to my organisation which help drive innovation.’

‘My organisation has started working in a more strategic way with HR services providers in order to address talent needs more effectively.’

Agency workers bridge gaps and boost agility

Companies’ main reasons for using agency workers:

Agency workers can spread tech and green skills


‘When introducing new technology, employing agency workers with existing knowledge of the technology is an effective way to spread understanding to permanent employees.’

‘We will increasingly be looking for green skills in our workforce in the next five years.’

Employers worry they can’t offer rewarding roles to agency workers

‘I worry that my organisation is not able to offer rewarding roles to short-term or agency workers.’

The workforce impacted by the changing landscape

Employers worry about keeping up with tech innovation


‘I am concerned that my organisation will not be able to train employees fast enough to keep up with technology developments in the next three years.’

‘AI and other tech disruptions will require companies to radically rethink skills and resources across large areas of the workforce.’

Companies want to source from under-employed groups to expand their pool of talent 

Initiatives planned to expand pool of talent available to organisations in the next two years.

DE&I is vital in the new workforce 

A gap remains on benefits between perm and agency workers

They want to remove legislative barriers to short-term contracts

‘With job roles set to shift more than ever before, we must simplify legislative barriers which can deter workers from choosing short-term contracts.’

Join the conversation - RECLive24

Join us back in-person,  joined by leading industry experts from across the world; from global AI and technology leaders; to recruitment and business leaders at the top of their game. 
Whatever the change – political, economic, social or technological – RECLive24 will challenge your current thinking and leave you armed with top tips and practical strategies on how to achieve success.

Book your spot now