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REC employer data refutes claims that temp use will drop post-AWR

REC employer data refutes claims that temp use will drop post-AWR

A report in this weekend’s Sunday Telegraph claimed that unpublished research from a leading business group shows employers will significantly reduce their use of temps due to the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR). This is at odds with data from recruiters and their clients around the country, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The story said one in five employers is planning to cut their use of temporary workers to avoid costly new legislation, which they believe will drown the UK's flexible temping industry.

However, the latest data from JobsOutlook, the REC's monthly employer tracking survey, shows that some three-quarters of employers are now aware of the regulations. The July data also indicates that 79 per cent of businesses are intending to maintain or increase numbers of agency workers in the next year and only five per cent intend to significantly reduce numbers.

Kevin Green, REC’s Chief Executive said:  “We are surprised at the claims in this research, as this is not a reaction we recognise from the thousands of businesses we've met with about AWR. Even in the sectors where temps are most heavily used, such as industrial and drivers, recruiters are speaking to their clients about the new regulations and do not expect to see a significant drop-off in demand.

“This is because for most employers, cost is not the primary reason they take on agency staff. Rather, it is to acquire specialist skills and provide workforce flexibility to respond to peaks in demand.

“Whilst the REC recognises there will be some impact, the CIPD estimates that only 13 per cent of temporary workers will be directly affected by AWR, since 50 per cent Of temporary staff work less than 12 weeks already.”

Green added: “While many in the business community, including the REC, didn't see a need for AWR, the concessions gained from Government mean the impact will not be as serious as initially anticipated.

“Other European countries that have introduced this directive have seen a small initial blip in demand for temps, only for usage to actually surpass previous levels within a few months. We are confident that the careful preparations made by businesses and recruiters across the country will mitigate the negative effects on UK employment.

'Whilst employers were initially alarmed about AWR, the experience of our members shows that with the support and expertise of professional recruiters, businesses intend to continue using temps to meet their workforce needs. Even in the public sector, temps remain a guaranteed source of skills in a tough financial environment. This is why the KPMG and REC Report on Jobs has shown a continued demand for temps over the last 22 months, a trend which we expect to continue post-AWR.”

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