02 Nov, 2012

Worker Regulations

02 Nov, 2012

The UK’s demand for a flexible workforce remains strong, according to new evidence from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) latest JobsOutlook survey, a monthly poll of employer hiring intentions. The research confirms that, despite fears at the time, the introduction of Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) in October 2011 has not fundamentally altered the demand for temporary labour. The survey posed a question that specifically quizzed employers about their assessment of the impact the AWR has had one year on. The results revealed that:

  • 44 percent agreed with the statement that “the regulations have had less impact than we feared”
  • 47 percent said the regulations have had some impact, but have not fundamentally changed the way they use agency staff
  • 3 percent answered that the regulations have had a significant impact on their use of agency staff
  • 2 percent said that the regulations have meant they have stopped using agency staff all together
  • 4 percent were unsure

Commenting on these findings, the REC’s Director of Research, Roger Tweedy, says:

“Despite many fears about the detrimental impact that AWR could have on the use of agency workers, UK businesses continue to understand the value in recruiting temporary, flexible labour. This data reinforces the findings of research we conducted earlier in the year, so we can be confident that the impact of the regulations has been a lot less damaging than some people feared it would be.”

JobsOutlook reports the responses of 600 employers questioned about their hiring intentions over the next quarter and the 4-12 months beyond that. Respondents are drawn from across the public, private and non-profit sector, and from across a range of industries and sizes of organisation.

In its regularly collected data from employers, October’s JobsOutlook reports that:

  • 55 percent said they planned to increase the number of permanent employees over the next three months (the same as last month)
  • 49 percent expect to increase permanent hires over the next 4-12 months (also the same as last month)
  • 40 percent say they will keep their permanent workforce numbers the same for the next quarter, with 48 percent saying they will make no changes for the rest of the year
  • 27 percent plan to increase agency worker numbers in the next quarter (up one point on last month) with 11 percent saying they intend to decrease their use of agency workers (compared to 13 percent last month)
  • 21 percent say they will increase agency workers over the next  4-12 month period (compared to 22 percent last month) with 11 percent saying they will decrease their use of agency workers (down from 12 percent last month)
  • 62 percent say they will maintain the same number of agency workers over the next quarter, with 68 percent saying they will make no changes over the rest of the year

Roger Tweedy adds:

“There is little change from last month. Confidence is being sustained and we’re continuing to see a period of stability rather than cuts in worker numbers, which is in line with predictions of a slow return to growth for the economy as a whole.”