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PrES leads way for global economic recovery

The USA, Japan and Europe, together worth 82% of the worldwide PrES industry market, all reported a return to growth: In November 2013 the US Staffing Employment Index reached 102, its highest position in six years and a notable growth of 6.9% y-o-y. The Japanese market has hit a record high since 2008, and now employs 1.1 million agency workers, a staggering growth of 26% compared to Q3 2012. In Europe, the monthly Agency Work Business Indicator has entered positive growth (1.4% in November) for the first time since 2011.

These are some of the figures published in the annual Economic Report of Ciett, the international confederation of private employment services (PrES). The report also reveals more in depth knowledge about the industry and agency workers around the world. In 2012, almost 36 million individuals around the world worked as an agency worker, filling about 11.5 million full-time positions in an industry worth &euro299.3 Bn. On average, this accounts for about 0.9% of the total working population (penetration rate of agency work). 

Fred Van Haasteren, Ciett President, commented that "The PrES market is considered to be a leading economic indicator, as it directly correlates with market volatility. These positive results for 2013 are welcome news as PrES leads the way in economic recovery. This will ultimately benefit job-seekers, employers and economies worldwide."

One important characteristic of agency workers as reported by the Ciett is that on average they are young, 61% are under 30. The fact that only 32% were employed before undertaking agency work shows that agency work is a champion of transitions from education to work and from unemployment to work. Since 68% of agency workers gained a permanent, full-time contract after working in temporary positions and only 14% returned to unemployment after agency work, the transition also works from short to long term employment. Around 22 million youth were employed as agency workers in 2012. 

Fred van Haasteren, "Youth unemployment is still a major concern. Agency work continues to be an active part of the solution and a stepping stone into the labour market. It is positive to see the high numbers of youth taking the initiative to upskill themselves and gain vital experience in a tough market."

The report also shows that employers use agency workers for a range of reasons. These include the possibility to effectively deal with peaks in the work load, replacing absent staff, for short-term projects and to hire workers in an easy and cost efficient way. 74% of employers report that they would not consider hiring permanent workers as an alternative to agency work. There are a range of sectors that take advantage of agency workers, with services and manufacturing employing 71% of agency workers in 2012. 

Agency workers report high job satisfaction 80% of agency workers would recommend it to family or friends, and 83% are satisfied or very satisfied with their job as an agency worker. They have a multitude of reasons as to why they pick agency work. These include being a stepping stone to permanent work, financial reasons and flexibility. Agency work allows a & lsquo;personalisation’ of their career that permanent positions cannot match.

Denis Pennel, Ciett managing director, commented, "There is a variety of reasons for employers and employees to pick agency work. This demonstrates that agency work increasingly complements the traditional direct employer-employee full- time, permanent relationship. Customized career paths and agile organisations are the response to global economic uncertainty and the speed of 21st century business."

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