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REC and BERR publish joint research on agency work

REC and BERR publish joint research on agency work

Research published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) with the support of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) provides an overview of some of the key drivers and trends in temporary agency work from the perspective of the workers themselves.

The joint report entitled Temporary Agency Workers in the UK- Understanding Their Role and Expectations highlights the role that temporary work plays in helping jobseekers back in to the labour market with 63 per cent of temporary workers choosing this form of employment because they were out of work.

As well as providing an income stream, this offers a crucial means of building confidence and enhancing practical workplace skills.

Commenting on the findings, Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC, said: For those who have recently lost their jobs due to the economic downturn, it is crucial to get back into the world of work as quickly as possible and temping is a key means of achieving this. The report also confirms that temporary work offers flexible working options for students and is a valuable means of gaining the kind of practical work experience that will prove vital in an increasingly competitive jobs market.

Minister for Employment Relations, Pat McFadden, said: This report shows that agency work is an important part of the labour market both for individual and companies. For some people, it is a short term option to get into the labour market and for others, a longer term way of working that suits their individual circumstances and needs.

The Government wants to make sure agency work can continue to play a role and also to make sure that agency workers get fair treatment for the work they do.

The REC/BERR report also provides a useful indicator in terms of overall experience and feedback from temporary workers with two-thirds (68 per cent) of agency workers reporting that they are satisfied with their pay and 84 per cent saying that they were satisfied with their agencies.

Other key results were:
The survey found that seven per cent of agency workers report some kind of long term disability or illness
36 per cent were working on a temporary basis because they were currently in education
63 per cent of workers chose temporary work because they were unemployed with 28 per cent of those search for temporary work after being unemployed for one week or less
Providing regular work and find the right kind of work were rated as the two most important reasons for agency workers choosing an agency
Two-thirds (68 per cent) of agency workers are satisfied with their pay and 84 per cent were satisfied with their agencies
A third of respondents (33 per cent) are currently looking for permanent work only another 28 per cent are looking for either permanent or temporary work 22 per cent are not looking for work and 17 per cent say they are looking solely for temporary work
70 per cent of temporary workers said it was important for the agency they use to be a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from the REC website:


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