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World – Temporary employment viewed positively by employers and workers

07 March 2014

Employers are generally confident about the value that temporary employment provides, according to research conducted by recruitment firm PageGroup. The majority (80.4%) of all employers surveyed had a positive or very positive perception, although this is noticeably higher in countries with a longer practice of temporary employment; such as Australia, the UK, Canada, compared with nations; such as Poland and Italy, where it is a more recent phenomenon.

Around six out of 10 (58.9%) professionals have a similarly positive view, again this noticeably higher in markets with a longer tradition of temporary employment.     

The main motivator in the use of temporary workers goes beyond just meeting short term needs. According to the research reasons for using temporary workers include:

  • Flexibility (89.4% of employers)
  • Value in answering short-term needs (87.8%)
  • Benefit in identifying candidates for long-term position (75.7%)
  • Cost-effective solution to HR challenges (61.2%)
  • Bringing external expertise into the business (49.1%)

The study also revealed that there has been a rise of temporary employment across the globe, with 3-in-5 professionals and 1-in-3 employers worldwide expecting a rise in the need for temporary employment. Almost a quarter of temporary workers were offered a permanent contract at the end of their last assignment. According to the report, across Europe, the countries with the lowest levels of temporary agency work are Spain (0.5%), Italy (1%), and Poland (1%). In global terms, temporary employment has made the least impact on the economic landscape of Mexico, with 0.3%. 

Half of all of the temporary employees surveyed worked in clerical (28.6%) or manager/supervisor (26.7%) roles. Nearly three-quarters held a university degree; 41.5% held a Bachelor’s degree, while 32.1% held a Master’s degree or higher.   

Demographically, a quarter (25.2%) of the temporary workers were aged between 36 and 45 years, with slightly fewer (24.6%) aged between 46 and 55 years. Male temporary workers number marginally higher than female, by 51.5% compared with 48.5%, respectively. 

While secretarial work still features strongly at 24.5%, Page Personnel’s survey found high numbers of assignments in finance & accounting, production, and the technical sector. However, temporary employees were rarely found in positions of greater responsibility. Just 2.2% of employers surveyed reported using temporary employees in managerial roles.

The majority of employers chose to hire temporary workers for two reasons; to replace a member of staff taking leave (50.6%), or to cope with an unexpected increase in activity (40.8%).

Looking forward, a high number (78.1%) of employers believe that the need for temporary workers will stay the same or increase in the future. Predictions of an increase were more prevalent among Italian employers (44.6%) and Portuguese employers (53.8%), compared with an average of 33.9%.

To read the full report, please click here

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