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Employers using agency workers to ‘access strategic skills’

Three-quarters of employers (75%) take on agency workers to gain “short-term access to key strategic skills”, according to the latest Jobs Outlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

REC’s research also found that 92% of employers say temporary workers earn the more (36%) or the same (56%) as permanent staff.

Just over half (52%) of employers made at least one temporary member of staff permanent in January, but this is the lowest proportion in a year, down from 83% last January. Eight in ten employers say they plan to hire more permanent staff between April and December 2015.

REC chief executive Kevin Green, said temporary work was “becoming more attractive… indicative of a labour market where the need for talent is acute and skilled workers are in increasingly short supply”.

With 93% of employers saying they have limited capacity to take on additional work, Green added that many businesses are prepared to “pay more for temporary workers in order to boost productivity and capitalise on the improving economic climate”.

Commenting on the findings, Appirio SVP HR Jennifer Taylor told HR magazine freelancing and temporary working was creating a “new workforce model”. She said freelancing in particular is “rewriting a new chapter for HR” and advised HR professionals to “embrace the new attrition rate”.

She added that employers should see the “level of energy and innovation” that freelancers bring as “something that will propel your organisation forwards”.

Taylor also advised employers to focus on creating career pathways to prevent staff jumping ship in a more active job market. “Create your own sense of perpetual motion within your organisation because if you create enough fluid internally people will see no need to leave,” she said.