Temporary workers 'a popular option for businesses'

Monday 23 December 2013

Improving economic conditions in the UK have had a significant impact on the attitudes of businesses, as confidence improves about their financial futures. 

However, as companies begin to recruit more employees in the wake of improved sentiment, a skills gap has emerged that has resulted in several problems for firms looking for knowledgeable and qualified employees. 

These changes have come as good news for temporary workers and freelancers, who are increasingly being depended upon by companies which are looking to expand their operations without taking on full-time permanent workers. 

An article that was recently published in HR Magazine recently suggested that the recruitment of contract staff has been portrayed in a bad light in recent months, particularly since a Dispatches documentary discussing the issue was aired by Channel 4. 

Written by employment law partner at Shakespeares Vanessa Di Cuffa, the piece claimed that there had been a lot of negative reporting about agency workers and the fact they often feel less favourable terms than permanent employees. 

Why use temporary staff? 

According to the HR article, flexibility and cost are the main factors making temporary staff an attractive option for companies. Using this type of worker allows businesses to pick and choose when they make use of labour, when it is required. This is very often an essential component to leading a business that deals with peaks at certain times of year. 

In many cases, those people looking at contract work from an outsider's perspective believe it is a last resort for people who have unsuccessfully looked for permanent positions. This is simply not the case, many workers do not want a permanent contract because they prefer the flexibility and variety of a long-term role. What's more, many people choose to work for several businesses before deciding on a particular area of expertise. 

Although recent economic conditions in the UK have impacted the workforce considerably, experts have argued that this does not mean agency work and contractors are being taken advantage of. In fact, more people than ever before are choosing to give up their traditional roles in favour of a freelancing position. 

Hiring for Growth 

The recent Hiring for Growth report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) recently suggested that now could be an ideal time to work as a contractor through a limited company in the UK. 

A report into employment revealed that the last three months in particular have seen a dramatic increase in demand for staff across a number of industries. 

In a statement, the REC said: "Individuals are looking for much more flexibility in the career path, which is something that specialist recruiters can facilitate. 

"Other examples included people working in HR moving into compliance roles and part-qualified solicitors opting to work in HR."

Desired skills in UK workplaces are evolving too, with communication and interpersonal experience becoming an increasingly important option for businesses in the professional services sector. 

Recent data has also suggested that globalisation is playing a part in employment trends in the UK, with language skills now a desired skill for temporary and permanent employees alike. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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