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International — Temporary employees were the first to suffer from the recession

20 October 2009

Workers who found jobs through temporary employment agencies were among the first to find themselves out of work as a result of the global financial and economic crises, according to a new United Nations report.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) report noted that the largest number of temporary job losses was recorded in the manufacturing sector of developed countries, especially in the car industry.

Spotlighting Germany, where between 100,000 and 150,000 temporary workers are estimated to have lost their jobs in the four to six months after October 2008, the report points to similar trends in Japan, the United States, Spain and France.

"Many of the largest private employment agencies are saying that it will be 2010 at least before they see any upturn in business," said John Myers, an industry specialist from the ILO and author of the report.

"This would generally happen after overtime hours and the length of the working week begin to rise among the core workforce of user enterprises, and companies' slack capacity begins to fall," said Mr. Myers. "When firms consider turning to agencies to meet their needs, this will be one of the first signs that the economic crisis is beginning to end."

The ILO report also underscored the importance of balancing the corporate need for flexibility in the workforce with employee calls for job security, a safe working environment, decent conditions and social security — a role fulfilled by temporary employment agencies.

Temporary employment agencies act as the middle-man in modern labour markets, allowing businesses greater flexibility to increase or cut their workforce, while ensuring workers receive sufficient security in terms of job opportunities and employment standards, including pay, working time and training.

At the same time, the report stressed that ratification of ILO Convention No. 181 on private employment agencies can help to promote decent work and ensure better functioning labour markets.

"Countries that have not yet ratified Convention No. 181 are encouraged to do so, as its implementation can be an engine for job creation, structural growth, improved efficiency of national labour markets, better matching of supply and demand for workers, higher labour participation rates and increased diversity," the report said.

"It also sets a clear framework for regulation, licensing and self-regulation, thereby encouraging reliability; ensuring effective protection of workers against unfair practices; discouraging human trafficking; and promoting cooperation between public and private employment services," the report said further.

To read the full ILO report please click here



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