Uncertainty steers hirers towards freelance staff<br>

Uncertainty over the economy should play into the hands of freelancers if end-users remain cautious and stick to their plans of taking on more temporary workers over the next three months.

Blaming the fragility of the economy, employers regularly asked about their hiring intentions by the REC said they were downgrading their plans to expand their permanent workforce.

Both in the medium-term – the next three months, and over the long-term – the next 12 months, the number of full-time staff added to the payroll will fall from the levels envisioned in the first quarter.

This downgrade is a clear reflection of the currently “uncertain economic context” that employers are in, said Roger Tweedy, director of research at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

That economic context also explains the anticipated demand for temporary expertise: asked about non-permanent workers like freelancers, who can be let go more easily if conditions worsen, the end-users said they would require a greater number than they estimated in March.

Mr Tweedy said: “With the economy continuing to stagnate, businesses will understandably remain cautious which is why we are seen an increase in the longer term demand for flexible staff such as temporary and contract workers.”

Eighty-three per cent of employers say their use of contract workers will stay the same or increase over the next 12 months while, over the next quarter, 79 per cent will also boost their non-permanent staff intake or hold it steady. Among permanent staff hirers, only 49 per cent could say the same.

The REC reflected: “This is a timely reminder of how a flexible workforce [can] help employers meet peaks and troughs in demand for services and products during uncertain times."


26th August 2011

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