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RECs JobsOutlook: Demand for agency staff remains strong and is up on last year

REC’s JobsOutlook: Demand for agency staff remains strong and is up on last year

The latest data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s JobsOutlook shows that demand for temporary staff over the past month has remained stable and is up on the same time last year despite new regulations on agency work coming into force in October.

The short term outlook for the agency work market has improved by three points with a total of 81 per cent of employers planning to either grow or keep their agency workforces at existing levels. Within this, a significant proportion of employers - 31 per cent – are planning to actually increase their temporary staff. This compares to 22 per cent at the same time last year. In the longer term, a total of 83 per cent of employers are looking to grow or keep their temporary staff levels the same in the next 12 months.

The latest JobsOutlook shows that 52 per cent of employers made changes – including staff training - ahead of the Agency Workers Regulations coming into force on October 1. Another 39 per cent said they did not make any changes while nine per cent said they were not sure. The number of employers planning to make less use of temporary staff due to the AWR was 7 per cent down on the previous month, perhaps reflecting increasing recognition that in most sectors the impact of the regulations on clients will be minimal.

Commenting on the latest figures, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green says:

“The ongoing economic uncertainty has clearly influenced hiring patterns. Using temporary and contract staff is an attractive option and continues to provide a means of bringing in the right skills at very short notice.

“There is no doubt that the AWR has created significant cost and bureaucracy for agencies. At the same time, the need for agency staff is well established. The main impact to date has been the development of new supply models rather than any sort of collapse in demand for temp and contract labour. These are trends that we will continue to track as we approach the first 12 week milestone."

JobsOutlook is based on a monthly survey of employers with results based on a sample of 600 on a three month rolling basis.

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