Britain’s economy is becoming increasingly reliant on agency workers, with 800,000 temporary staff now part of the workforce, a new report has found. This marks an astonishing 40 per cent rise over the past 10 years. One in four of the companies questioned by the foundation said that they expected to increasing agency hiring over the coming years.
The Resolution Foundation think tank surveyed 500 managers across a range of industries and found that a third hired agency employees on the understanding that they would prove cheaper than full-time staff, although the accuracy of this perception is open to doubt. Another third believed the opposite.
“Demand for agency workers grew significantly over the past five years – particularly among firms who use them as a core part of their business model and have become agency worker-reliant,” said Lindsay Judge, a senior policy analyst with the Resolution Foundation. “Agency workers are still used largely as a stop-gap measure, but for a significant minority of firms, costs, convenience and control all play an important part in explaining their reliance on agency workers,” she said.