Headlines: April 25th, 2013

Temporary staff  usage among Councils has increased by 1.6% compared to the same period in 2012. The increase signals a possible resurgence in temporary staff usage in 2013 because of the freeze on recruiting permanent staff  and the immediate need to deliver public services.

Across 88 Councils in 10 regional areas, only three areas recorded decreases in temporary staff usage. These areas included Yorkshire and Humber, the North West and London. London saw the biggest drop of all areas at 14.1%, indicating the severity of the impact of budget cuts on the capital’s Local Authorities.

Temporary staff also fluctuated from sector to sector. Increases were seen in the public sector in light industrial, office/administration and professional sectors in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, there have been decreases in the use of temporary workers in roles for driving (-22%), IT (-11.1%), and social care (-6.6%) since the same time last year.

Jamie Horton, Managing Director at Comensura, said, “As we predicted, usage of temporary staff has bounced back in the first quarter of 2013. Local Authorities have risen to the challenges posed by deep budget cuts and have responded by adding greater flexibility into their workforce. This is important given the on-going and uncertain outlook for permanent staffing in local authorities as well as the rise in shared or outsourced service offerings.”

He continued, “The increase in usage this year is an encouraging sign and the trend should remain positive, particularly as we go into the summer period, which traditionally sees an increase in demand for seasonal, temporary workers.”

The research also reveals that over a third of all temporary workers are under the age of 34 but this age group continues to experience declines. Most notably women aged 25-34 in temporary employment, who decreased by 14.4% during Q1 2013 compared to the same time last year primarily due to a high percentage of women in this bracket (44.4%) working in social care roles, which experienced a drop of 6.6% in temporary staff numbers.