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UK – Temporary recruitment declines in the public sector, Comensura finds

19 July 2012

Temporary labour has decreased by -6.7% across the public sector in the second quarter of the year with the North East seeing the biggest decline year-over-year, the latest Comensura Government Index shows today. The report comes after the latest Government statistics proved yesterday that public sector employment in the UK has been on the decline for months. 

“The view from Local Authorities is that the decreasing trend in both temporary and permanent labour is expected to continue. Local Authorities and other public bodies are increasingly gaining greater control of expenditure on temporary labour by implementing methods to manage spend in this area. Alternative, more diverse approaches of resourcing are helping to reduce spend in this area, however more work is needed,” said Jamie Horton, Managing Director at Comensura, part of the Impellam Group.

The index showed that the South West performed strongly with a +12.4% increase in temporary staffing while in the North East this dropped sharply by -46.4%. The study found that these discrepancies were mainly due to a reduction in the light industrial and driving/transportation roles, which have seen pay rates increase in the past year by +26.6% and +17.5% respectively.

Those aged under 44 make up around 60% of all temporary workers in Local Authorities and other public bodies who continue to bear the brunt of reduced temporary labour usage, the study found. There are now fewer younger people in temporary positions as the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in the sector has fallen by -13.5%. For 25 to 34-year-olds the decline was more profound at -20.7% and the drop is credited to continued declines in the light industrial job class.

The research also revealed that over 71% of Local Authorities have cut their use of temporary labour, mainly because of reduced department budgets. However, 75% expected temporary labour numbers to stay the same or decrease in the rest of the year. Neither are things looking brighter for permanent staff roles as 87% of Local Authorities said they had experienced lower staff levels in 2012.

Budget restraints and pressure to perform has now led many Local Authorities to resort to alternative methods of resourcing. When asked, over 50% of Local Authorities said a greater use of internal labour or redeployment pools lay behind the reduced need for temporary labour. 46.7% of Local Authorities are considering shared services, compared to 30% considering outsourcing services.

The Comensura Government Index shows the usage of temporary labour across 80 of Comensura’s clients in England and Wales during 2011 and 2012 and is distributed on a quarterly basis.

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