Latest official figures show that the number of temporary workers increased by 9.32% for the three months from September to November 2021 compared to the same period one year prior. This is a significant jump and shows that temps are effectively powering the economy as businesses struggle to recruit permanent staff.
The ONS workforce figures showed falling unemployment which is very positive as we head towards a post-pandemic world. However the decreasing number of unemployed people is offset by an increase in “economic activity” – those who are not looking and/or not available for work.
Initially the number of part-time workers decreased strongly during the pandemic, however it has been recovering and contributes to the increase in employment seen during the last 12 months. This is likely to be a consequence of the pandemic with more people seeking to work flexibly.
The figures show that job vacancies are above pre-crisis levels in every single industrial category, with health, social care, hospitality and “professional” jobs leading the way. Very high vacancies plus very low unemployment means a very, very tight labour market. The number of unemployed people per vacancy is now extremely low at 1.1, compared with 1.2 last
month and 1.3 the month before (and 4.1 during the height of the pandemic). According to statisticians and economists, this ratio has never been this low in at least fifty years.
The tight labour market is certainly increasing firms reliance on temporary workers, who really are powering the economy currently.
Of the 1.68 million temporary employees during the period, approximately 725,146 were men while 956,972 were women.