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World – Temporary employment – a global economic engine

29 October 2013

During 2011 there were 46 million people working in a temporary capacity, the equivalent of 12.4 million full time workers, according to the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Ciett). They were employed by 140,000 private employment agencies that operated in 179,000 branches.

The Ciett report, ‘the agency work industry around the world 2013’, analysed data from 2011 and 2012 and provides a comprehensive overview of temporary employment around the world. According to the research, 61% of staffing companies around the world in 2011 were located in the Asia-Pacific region, 24% in Europe, and 11% in North America.

According to the report, the agency work penetration rate was higher in the United States with 1.8%, compared with Europe at 1.6%, and Japan at 1.5%.

The majority of temporary workers worked in the manufacturing industry, followed by the services sector. The annual revenue of the industry was the equivalent of €259 billion, according to information provided by the 42 countries involved in the Ciett survey. Staffing Industry Analysts’ own estimate of the size of the global temporary staffing market in 2012 is slightly higher at €267 billion (and €324 billion if you include other revenues such as permanent placement, executive search, outplacement and other process related services such as RPO and payrolling).

Dr Michael Freytag, Policy Advisor at Ciett, commented: “Temporary work acts as a leading indicator of the labour markets. They responded well ahead of other industries to the ups and downs of the economy.”

According to Dr Freytag, the flexible employment model is an economic engine that creates jobs. It allows people to leave unemployment and enables young people to get their first work experience. In Brazil and South Africa 90% of all temporary workers are younger than 30. The average proportion of temporary workers under the age of 30 across Europe was 57%. A tenth of European temporary workers were under the age of 21 during 2011. 

However, temporary work is not just an appropriate job opportunity for young people. According to the research 58% of all temporary workers in Japan were over the age of 30 in 2011. In the United States this proportion was 68%. In Denmark and Macedonia, the percentage of temporary workers over the age of 30 was 70% and 69%, respectively. 

To read the full report, please click here.

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