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Increased Use of Temporary Staff forecast for 2011
By Adrian Hobbs

The end of the year always seems like a good time for some reflection...I have been working in the recruitment industry for just over 20 years. In that time I have also survived 3 major economic slumps. One of the things I have noticed in the past three recessions, is how economic uncertainty always corresponds to an increased use of agency or temporary staff.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's latest Jobs Outlook supports this position.

  • In the next three months (January to March 2011), nearly a quarter (22%) of UK employers plan to increase their use of temporary labour.
  • 28% of UK employers are planning to recruit more agency workers over the next 12 months.
  • Only 12% of UK employers say that their permanent headcount will not increase.

Some industry experts point to this increasing trend as a sign of the first shoots of economic recovery. A lot of senior managers may be using temporary labour to start nudging production levels in anticipation of increased demand. There is a lot of hope and optimism that recovery is around the corner and 2012 will be year when things will really pick up. Roger Tweedy, the REC's Director of Research, says: "The upward trend in both short and long-term use of temporary staff confirms that employers view flexible resourcing options as the best way of gearing themselves up for economic growth."

Other experts, however, suggest that the expected upward surge is a sign of the caution that is being taken by senior managers while they assess how things will pan out economically. Increasing use of temporary labour makes perfect sense especially if a company does not want to hire permanent employees, or if it cannot sustain large employee numbers if the recovery takes too long. The effects of the Spending Review will only be felt next year and as a result, it is only natural that employers are showing increased caution in terms of hiring permanent staff.

Added: 10th December 2010

With over 25 years experience in making businesses more efficient, Adrian Hobbs is a pioneer in lean business modeling, employee development and change management.  Find out more about Adrian's company Flex Recruitment.

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