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UK – Public sector hires more temporary staff

25 April 2013

Temporary workers are on the rise in the UK public sector, new research has revealed. According to the latest Comensura index, local authorities have increased their use of temporary labour by +1.6% in the first three months of the year.

This may put an end to previous declines seen in the public sector. Jamie Horton, managing director at Comensura, part of staffing firm Impellam, said the usage of temporary labour had bounced back in 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 said.

The increase of temporary labour may also be a result of on-going recruitment freezes for permanent hires and heightened short-term demand to deliver public services.

Across 88 local authorities in 10 regions, only three areas posted falls in temporary labour usage. Notable decreases were recorded in Yorkshire and Humber, the North West and London.  London saw the sharpest decline at -14.1%, following budget cuts in the area.

The use of temporary labour is fluctuating with public sector construction recording a +48.9% year-on-year uplift. Other increases were seen in light industrial and professional sectors which posted double-digit growth in the quarter. But demand for temporary staff dropped significantly in roles for driving, IT, and social care since the same time last year.


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