The use of temporary staff has continued to rise, according to the REC

98 percent of employers intend to maintain or increase their use of temps in the next quarter as overall demand for staff continues to rise, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Eight in ten employers (79 percent) cited the need to gain ‘short-term access to key strategic skills’ of temporary workers as the reason for this demand. Employers now consider this to be the most important reason for hiring agency staff.

In the latest JobsOutlook survey, 86 per cent of employers also reported their intention to add to their permanent headcount over the next three months.

“Our data tells us that the vast majority of the businesses we surveyed are operating at close to full capacity,” says REC Chief Executive Kevin Green. “However, a continued lack of workers with the appropriate skills means that temporary staff are increasingly needed to fill areas of skills shortage.”

The regular monthly survey of 600 employers also found that 95 percent of employers say they have little or no spare capacity to accommodate any form of increase in demand. In the past year, pay rises were twice as likely in the private (40 percent) as the public sector (20 percent), despite staffing increases being broadly similar across the sectors.

Employers say driving and distribution skills are in short supply to fill both permanent (14 percent) and temporary (10 percent) roles over the next year.

“With capacity tight and employers already aware of candidate shortages, it’s clear that competition for top talent will be stiff,” continues Green. “The private sector is clearly paying more to retain talent so the outlook for public sector organisations whose staff have the skills that the private sector requires is going to be testing.”

“The challenge for businesses and government is to address the gap between the skills employers want and the skills candidates have. That involves improving careers advice in schools, better vocational education and more opportunities for older workers to reskill.”