30 May 2017
Temps to ‘plug’ skills gap

The latest report from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has found that nine in ten UK employers (89%) intend to increase their temporary workforce over the next three months. This has risen from 80% in March, suggesting that organisations may become increasingly dependent on temp workers in order to fill the skills shortages that have been made apparent.

REC chief executive Kevin Green explains, “This looks like a tipping point for the jobs market. Faced with chronic skills shortages, some employers are giving up on trying to fill permanent vacancies, and instead looking for temp resource to ensure they have the manpower needed to meet demand.

“For jobseekers this means there are opportunities out there to boost earnings, because employers are prepared to pay a premium for people to fill vacancies on an interim basis. We could see this become a more attractive option for people in the context of rising inflation and poor pay growth.”

The UK employment has falling to 4.6% (lowest level since 1975). The increase of demand for temp workers follows the availability to fill permanent roles. The REC survey reveals that 33% of employers revealed that they have no spare workforce capacity in their business, whilst 46% anticipate a shortfall of candidates willing to fill permanent roles. As for temp candidates, 65% of employers use them when necessary, with 57% using them as a response to growth and 48% using them to gain strategic skills that were elsewise lacking.

The increased use of temporary workers may have a financial burden for some businesses, with one in five (19 per cent) claiming that agency workers earn more than permanent staff in equivalent roles.

Kevin Green continues, “For employers there is a growing sense of urgency about the skills shortage because it threatens to throw the UK jobs market off track. Whichever party forms a government after 8 June, we need to see action to improve the employability and skills of our young people, and to improve inclusion with underrepresented groups. We also need an immigration system which reflects the reality that more not fewer people from abroad are needed to boost the capacity of the UK workforce.”


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