Temp and contractor hiring rises in permanent candidate drought
by Alan Little
Nearly a fifth of UK employers spanning all sectors want to appoint more permanent staff, but candidate shortages mean that they are likely to turn instead to temporary/contracting staff, the latest JobsOutlook survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) suggests.
The survey, which polled 607 employers across all regions, sectors and the public/private sector between 28th March and 21st June this year, found that 19 per cent of employers are actively seeking to expand their permanent headcounts over the coming three months. However, 45 per cent conceded that they expect significant candidate shortages for permanent roles over the next 12 months.
The report concludes that businesses will manage this shortfall by turning to contracting professionals and other temporary staff to meet demand.
The chief findings of the latest survey are as follows:
- Just over a third of employers (34 per cent) currently have no spare capacity and will need to recruit should demand increase.
- Nearly nine-tenths (87 per cent) plan to increase their use of temporary/contracting workers over the coming three months.
- Just under a quarter (24 per cent) move at least half of their temporary workers to permanent roles every year.
The latter is unlikely to include skilled contracting professionals, whom employers turn to not only to manage increases in demand but, according to previous survey findings, also to gain access to key skills that they wouldn’t otherwise have at their disposal.
Analysis of historic data collected in the Jobs Outlook survey indicates that temporary workers are rising in importance to businesses as employers seek to deal with the candidate drought for permanent roles. The proportion of hirers who have increased their use of temporary/contracting workers in order to “respond to growth” has climbed from 48 per cent in the second half of 2016 to 55 per cent today.
Commenting on the latest survey, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said: “The majority of jobs created in recent years are full-time roles, but the data suggests that employers may need to bring in temps to fill vacancies because it’s so difficult to find candidates for permanent positions.
“The pool of people without a job is shrinking, and the number of people deciding to switch jobs isn’t rising as much as we’d expect. Employers are improving starting salaries to attract candidates, but even with this incentive, people are unsure about taking new jobs at a time of economic uncertainty.”
Mr Green went on to note that Brexit is making the predicament even more challenging. With a third of people working in construction in London coming from the EU, it is hard to see how companies will cope if these workers are not encouraged to remain in the UK.