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Temporary labour Usage On The Rise Says Comensura

Temporary labour Usage On The Rise Says Comensura

Women still bearing the brunt of public sector employment cuts

During the first quarter of 2013, temporary labour usage among Local Authorities has increased by 1.6% compared to the same period in 2012. The increase was predicted by Comensura in January 2013 when it revealed the sharp decreases previously seen in temporary labour were set to end. The increase signals a possible resurgence in temporary labour usage in 2013 due to on-going recruitment freezes for permanent labour and heightened short-term demand to deliver public services. 

Across 88 Local Authorities in 10 regional areas, only three areas recorded decreases in temporary labour usage. These areas included Yorkshire and Humber, the North West and London.  London saw the biggest drop of all areas at 14.1%, indicating the severity of the impact of budget cuts on the capital’s Local Authorities.

Temporary labour also fluctuated from sector to sector. The research reveals a 48.9% year on year uplift in temporary labour in public sector construction. Increases were also seen in the public sector in light industrial, office/administration and professional sectors in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year, up 10.5%, 5.5% and 24.0% respectively. Meanwhile, there have been decreases in the use of temporary workers in roles for driving (-22%), IT (-11.1%), and social care (-6.6%) since the same time last year.

Jamie Horton, Managing Director at Comensura, said, “As we predicted, usage of temporary labour has bounced back in the first quarter of 2013. Local Authorities have risen to the challenges posed by deep budget cuts and have responded by adding greater flexibility into their workforce. This is important given the on-going and uncertain outlook for permanent staffing in local authorities as well as the rise in shared or outsourced service offerings.”

He continued, “The increase in usage this year is an encouraging sign and the trend should remain positive, particularly as we go into the summer period, which traditionally sees an increase in demand for seasonal, temporary workers.”

The research also reveals that over a third (37.6%) of all temporary workers are under the age of 34 but this age group continues to experience declines. Most notably women aged 25-34 in temporary employment, who decreased by 14.4% during Q1 2013 compared to the same time last year primarily due to a high percentage of women in this bracket (44.4%) working in social care roles, which experienced a drop of 6.6% in temporary labour numbers.

The Comensura Government Index shows the usage of temporary labour across 88 of Comensura’s clients in England and Wales during 2012 and 2013. The Index is distributed on a quarterly basis and uses a variety of metrics to measure the usage of temporary labour including Full Time Equivalent (FTE), the reasons for hire, job class, age and gender.


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