Latest data from the REC (trade body for the recruitment industry) clearly illustrate the importance of temporary workers to the UK’s economy and post-pandemic recovery. The REC and KPMG Report on Jobs Survey issued on 8 January 2021 show a rise in permanent placements at the end of 2020, and temporary vacancies rising a much sharper rate. At the same time availability of workers also expanded, reasons cited by these workers were redundancy or concern over current job security.
The Report on Jobs Survey is based on data collected from recruitment firms between 4 to 17 December 2020. The information shows that the demand for workers improved for the first time since September 2020, with temporary placements expanding at the sharpest pace since October 2018. Permanent staff appointments also increased in December, albeit only marginally.
The South of England, the Midlands and the North of England all registered marked increases in temp billings. London was the only monitored English region to see a fall, which extended the current period of decline to 12 months. Nursing/Medical/Care registered the sharpest rise in temporary vacancies during December, followed by Blue Collar. Of the four sectors to note lower demand for short-term staff, unsurprisingly Hotel & Catering saw the steepest rate of contraction.
The increase in demand for temporary workers is very positive as it shows that businesses are starting to have confidence in taking on the people they need to deliver their outputs. It is only natural that firms currently favour temporary workers rather than permanent employees as there is still significant uncertainty which will now be exacerbated by the latest lockdown. In this scenario, it seems even more likely that businesses will come to rely on the temporary workforce to see them through, and lead the UK’s economic recovery.