By Jonathan London on 24th June 2015

Demand for temporary staff rises as need for skills soars

The number of opportunities available to contractors and freelance workers is likely to continue to rise over the coming months, according to the latest report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Findings from the organisation’s JobsOutlook reveal that 97 per cent of firms plan to increase or maintain their current number of agency workers in the next three months, with the same proportion planning to do the same over the next four to 12 months.

Whereas in the past temporary workers have been seen mainly as a means of addressing peaks in demand or to cover for absences, this latest survey indicated that eight out of ten employers say they are now hiring contractors for short-term access to key strategic skills.

Reflecting the new strategic importance that many employers give to contractors and agency staff, 65 per cent say temps are now earning more than they would if they were employed on a permanent basis.

The report also revealed that in the last 12 months, only four per cent of employers find temporary workers mainly through freelancers approaching them – a fall of ten percentage points from last year. In the same time frame, the use of offline advertising has doubled, with 15 per cent of employers now posting vacancies via ads in magazines, newspapers, and shop and office windows.

This is demonstrative of the fact that businesses are seeking out the services that contractors provide more proactively than ever before.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “Candidate availability is extremely low and as a result more employers are offering lucrative short-term assignments, especially in fields such as engineering.

“Temporary work has historically been associated with the lower-skilled end of the jobs market, but we’re seeing the profile of agency workers change as more people choose to work in this way because of the pay and flexibility it offers.”

Jonathan London Written by Jonathan London

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