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Annie Hayes

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Temping is ethnic bridge to permanent employment

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An official report reveals that temporary work is being used as a stepping stone for ethnic minorities to enter the labour market.

Increasing Employment Rates for Ethnic Minorities, the report published by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee shows that the gap between ethnic minorities in employment and the overall population is 14.2%.

Anne Fairweather, head of public policy for the Recruitment Employment Confederation commented: “The employment gap for ethnic minorities is still extremely high. Interestingly, around 12% of temporary workers are from an ethnic minority – much higher than the UK average of 7%. This shows that temporary work is being used as a stepping stone for ethnic minorities to enter the labour market. Recruitment agencies often provide a more flexible recruitment process which means that people from diverse backgrounds are more likely to succeed in securing employment.”

The report recommends that Jobcentre Plus needs to provide further help to unemployed people from ethnic minorities.

The Agency Workers Directive is set to give agency workers a new deal as early as 2010. After just 12 weeks on assignment a temporary worker will be afforded equal treatment to comparable permanent employees – from basic pay, notice of termination, vocational training and the right to be notified about vacancies etc.

Speaking exclusively to HR Zone, Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said of their Labour Market Outlook survey that 80% of those who didn’t agree that agency workers should be given the same pay and conditions as permanent employees just don’t buy the moral and ethical argument for ‘fair pay’: “When people say ‘it is only fair’ they do it on an ethical stance – most employers don’t see it in such a simplistic way. They give different rewards to their temporary staff.”

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Annie Hayes

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