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The rise of the Temporary worker and their changing role in business

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Look around: the traditional 9-5 structure that the business world operated on not so long ago has been irrevocably transformed by digital advancement and seismic shifts in culture. Today, organisations seek ways to drive cost-savings and they are eager to be as agile as possible so as to adapt to a fast-paced, hyper-competitive market.

For Employees, the feeling is mutual. Today, flexibility and freedom are the words on workers’ lips: gone are the days of lifetime employment and a gold watch at retirement. Job-hopping has surfaced from the tidal wave of sceptics to be accepted as a new normal. The latest data from the ONS puts the total number of agency temps at 304,128 – almost half of the estimated 800,000-strong Temporary workforce.

Agency workers may have once been seen as a stop-gap solution, but filling gaps and covering sickness are no longer the only reasons for a business to hire a temp worker. According to research from the Resolution Foundation, the rise in demand for agency temps can be attributed to the firms who view them as a core part of their business model.

Findings from their research revealed more than 4 in 10 agency worker reliant firms adopt a strategic approach to their use of agency workers, suggesting that leaders are finally recognising the benefit that these well-skilled but flexible Candidates can offer their business.

Lindsay Judge, a senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation cited “cost, control and convenience” as the leading factors behind the growing minority of businesses utilising temp workers to their advantage. Such firms have actively sought to hire agency workers either extensively or exclusively for certain positions; they have increasingly looked to hire specialists on the market to fill technical skills gaps within their businesses.

But is it any surprise? When the need arises – be it for seasonal demand or a specialist project – hiring managers seek talent who can hit the ground running with minimal training. As well as the immediate cost benefits of using Temporary talent, agency workers can offer organisations strategic support, invaluable insight and project management thanks to their rich experience. In fact, the same research from the Resolution Foundation found one in six firms surveyed believed agency workers to be more effective than their full-time counterparts.

Just as Temporary talent can be pivotal in supporting Permanent members of staff during peak demand, a growing number of firms are proving that Temporary staff can also play a critical role in a more proactive recruitment strategy. Rather than increasing overheads on a Permanent basis to meet a short-term demand, Employers who opt for agency temps can continually review business growth and make hiring decisions based on demand.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why the demand for Temporary workers has risen at its fastest pace in six months. Whether to plug an urgent skills gap, oversee a change management strategy or provide additional support when the workload rises, Employers are unlocking the power of temp workers to boost their bottom line and drive business growth.

If you’re looking for your next Temporary opportunity take a look at our Temps Division page on LinkedIn.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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