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Latest ONS Labour Market statistics show an increasingly bouyant temporary labour market

Posted on 17/04/2014 by Jamie Horton in Category Managed Services
This week’s ONS labour market statistics for December 2013 to February 2014 were welcomed with open arms as they showed that UK unemployment has dropped below 7% for the first time since the recession and is now at a five year low of 2.2m.

These figures suggest that UK businesses are increasingly buoyant about continued economic recovery.

Interestingly, the number of people in temporary employment has increased by 1.3% on the year. This increase suggests that businesses, while positive about recovery, are continuing to utilise temporary labour and innovative approaches to workforce management in order to create a greater flexibility. The increase in demand for temporary workers is being driven in no small part by recent increases in retail sales figures. The recent KPMG report showed UK retail sales were up 5.4%, against a 3.0% increase in Jan 2013, the strongest growth since March 2010. 

Businesses are realising that temporary labour can provide them with a number of key benefits including an immediate solution to short-term resourcing problems, a higher level of workforce flexibility to respond to fluctuating demand in a cost efficient way and the ability to bring in expertise or specialist skills as and when required.

Key ONS figures on temporary workers for December 2013 to February 2014

  • 1.615m people are employed in temporary positions

  • Up 24,000 on the quarter (change of 1.5%) and up 20,000 on the year (change of 1.3%)

  • 6.3% of the total of all employees are temporary workers

  • 586,000 temporary workers (or 36.3% of the total) stated their reason for temporary working was because they could not find a permanent job

  • females accounted for 52.3% of all temporary workers.