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Cath Everett

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Businesses relying on temps


The nature of the UK labour market is changing as a result of the ongoing difficult economic circumstances, with the use of temps and those working in “unsustainable, unconventional” ways on the increase.

According to research from temp recruitment agency de Poel, the number of temporary staff hired by employers increased by 65% last month compared with the same period last year, while the number of hours worked also rose by an average of 17.8%.
The study found that businesses were relying on temporary labour as they were still reluctant to hire permanent staff. The situation was particularly marked in the construction industry, where the use of agency workers jumped by a huge 184%. Facilities saw an increase of 65%, while business services’ temp numbers rose by 54.2%.
A survey among 2,200 UK workers by recruitment consultancy Kelly Services, meanwhile, revealed that 28% were now in what it described as “unsustainable, unconventional” jobs.
Branded ‘Generation U’ or Unsustainable, the characteristics of this group included people who had to work long and/or unusual hours, hold down multiple jobs, live away from home or undertake excessive amounts of travel as part of their everyday lives.
This phenomenon had arisen because of the “widespread ‘more for less’ business mantra formed out of the recession as business across the UK aim to drive efficiency upwards while lowering costs”, Kelly Services UK’s country general manager Andrew Cook said.
“Across many industries, there are a host of people who are now prepared to work in an unconventional way, moving within their own country or moving abroad in pursuit of work, but some of this is unsustainable”, he added.
Of those currently working in such a fashion, a worrying 43% felt that it was unsustainable into the long-term and they could only continue in this mode for up to a year. A further 29% said they could sustain such a lifestyle indefinitely, however.
But the most common gripe of this group was having to work long hours (27%), followed by unusual hours (25%) and being forced to live away from home (16%). Among the latter category, Generation Yers were most prepared to travel abroad to get a job (49%) compared with 41% of Generation Xers and 30% of Baby Boomers.
Oil and gas workers were likewise most prepared to shift countries for work (62%), followed by engineering (55%) and hospitality (53%).

One Response

  1. This article is accurate in
    This article is accurate in many ways. Temp work is better than nothing, but there is no looking forward to being with any company. You will get laid off as soon as the contract is up. You will be laid off as soon as you are eligible for any benefits and especially any pay raise. I have seen people hired through temp services and not even get paid what they were hired for, the temp service can string you along. I get the lack of benefits but it’s flexible, and you’ve no need to tie yourself down to a job you might not like.


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