By Ben Simmons
With January’s unemployment figures expected to remain high, data from de Poel, the UK’s number one procurer of temporary agency labour, reveals that the use of temporary staff in the UK rose by 13% in January compared to the same period last year.
Figures from de Poel show that temporary workers are a popular choice as businesses continue to operate within an unstable and unpredictable economy. Using temporary agency staff to supplement or up-skill a workforce enables businesses to respond quickly to market and seasonal shifts for competitive advantage without the commitment of using permanent staff.
This increase is despite concerns that the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) in October 2011 may deter companies using temporary staff. The AWR grants temporary staff the same pay, holiday and working time rights as permanent employees after 12 weeks in employment.
Broken down by industry sector, de Poel’s data shows that the biggest rise in the use of temporary workers was in manufacturing which was up by 35% and the business services sector, which increased by 33% in January 2012 compared to last year. Usage also rose in the care sector by 19%, and by 13% in construction, showing the industries’ need for a flexible and contingent workforce.
However, temporary agency spend was cut in the facilities management (FM) sector by 34% and in the logistics industry by 32% as business confidence continues to rise slowly. In a recent survey by the British Institute of Facilities Management, 84% of FM providers believe outsourcing would increase in 2012 while the Transport Industry Outlook Survey 2011-2012 revealed that 57% of respondents are more positive about revenue growth.
John Salisbury, Managing Director, de Poel, comments: “The recruitment industry has waited with baited breath to see whether the Agency Workers Regulations has affected the way in which organisations operate with a temporary agency workforce. Our data indicates that the AWR has not directly impacted the use of temporary staff and that any changes are more related to the economic climate and specific industry trading patterns.
“As companies expand their temporary workforce, it is ever more important to manage temporary agency spend tightly, especially if they are to survive in today’s unstable economy.
“The fragmented nature of the recruitment industry means often companies are unclear on how much they pay out on temporary labour as well as where and how spend is allocated. Having in place standard pricing structure and service level agreements helps manage and reduce costs, as well as improve agency service delivery. Absolute visibility of spend is also paramount in order to remain compliant with the AWR.”
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