Latest data shows that temporary and contract workers played a critical role in UK’s economy during the pandemic, with 980,000 temporary workers on assignment every day during 2020. Despite this being the height of the pandemic when so much was turbulent and unpredictable, the use of temporary workers was approximately the same as for 2019. During the same period the recruitment sector also placed 450,000 people into new permanent roles over the course of the year, 55% fewer than 2019.
Inevitably the pandemic resulted in decreasing confidence of employers to take on more permanent staff, and the report figures back up our experience which is an increasing reliance on temporary workers to support businesses throughout the turbulent year.
The figures are from the latest Industry Status Report, an in depth analysis of the recruitment sector during 2020, which has just been published by our friends over at the REC.
Their analysis shows that the wider recruitment industry contributed £35.9 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy in 2020, which is a very significant amount. However the GVA figure was down by 11.5% from the previous year, but shows the resilience of the sector during the worst recession for 300 years.
The importance of temporary workers has continued since 2019, both in our experience and also borne out by REC’s figures which give an indicative forecast of 6.7% increase in the number of temps and contract workers on assignment every day during 2020 to 2021.