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Seasonal worker posts in decline

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The role of seasonal workers is in decline – with only 41% of organisations using them, according to new research.

Agency workers are now the most popular (85%), followed by fixed-term contractors (73%) and finally seasonal/casual staff (41%) according to the Work Foundation study, based on responses from 315 HR specialists.

The top two reasons for using non-permanent staff were to provide flexibility, either for business cycles (71%) or short-term staffing short-falls (62%).

It seems that temporary workers are enjoying increasingly fair treatment – as rates of pay, sickness benefits and training are increasingly in line with those for permanent workers.

Interestingly, the majority of organisations (64%) felt that the impending Agency Workers Directive, which brings in new rights for temporary workers, will not affect their use of temporary employees.

Whereas fixed term contractors are significantly more likely to undertake senior and middle management and professional roles, agency workers are more likely to carry out administrative and blue collar roles. Casual/seasonal workers are the least analysed group, perhaps reflecting their perceived value to the organisation.

The study also found that contractors are most likely to go through the same formal recruitment process as permanent workers (60%) and to work on a specific project (41%). Agencies workers are most likely to have a less formal recruitment (63%) and to provide short-term cover for sickness (43%) and holidays (28%). Nearly 7 in 10 companies report that they make some temporary staff permanent.

Related items
Feature article: Only a seasonal job?
Employers warn that further rights for temp workers will damage job market

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