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UK – Temporary staffing remains stable despite AWR

25 October 2012

Demand for temporary labour remains stable in the UK with the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) proving to have had little impact on the use of temporary staff, new research shows.

In a survey to employers, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that 44% of respondents said the AWR had “less impact than feared.” Nearly half (47%) said the regulations have had “some impact” but have not fundamentally changed how agency staff is used.

Only 3% said that the new regulations have significantly impacted their use of agency staff and a minority of 2% have stopped using temporary workers altogether.  

“Despite many fears about the detrimental impact that AWR could have on the use of agency workers, UK businesses continue to understand the value in recruiting temporary, flexible labour,” said REC director of research, Roger Tweedy.

“This data reinforces the findings of research we conducted earlier in the year, so we can be confident that the impact of the regulations has been a lot less damaging than some people feared it would be.”

But the majority of employers (62%) are planning to freeze hiring agency workers in the next three months while 68% will make no changes to their temporary workforce in the next 12 months. 27% plan to increase the number of agency workers in the coming three months while 11% want to decrease their use.

In the longer term, 21% want to boost their use of agency workers over the next 4 to 12 months, with 11% planning to cut down on their use.  

“There is little change from last month. Confidence is being sustained and we’re continuing to see a period of stability rather than cuts in worker numbers, which is in line with predictions of a slow return to growth for the economy as a whole,” Mr Tweedy said. 

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