Training not being provided for contingent workers despite 1.5 million UK workers falling in to this category

A fifth of UK employers do not offer any Learning and Development (L&D) training to contingent (contractors, freelance) workers despite this market comprising of 1.5 million workers.

This was discovered through research conducted by Kineo, a workplace learning specialist owned by City & Guilds Group. They found that 20 per cent of employers do not provide any training to contingent workers.

Out of those contingent workers who do receive training, 24 per cent say it is ineffective. When widening the research to a global level, it was found that 24 per cent of contingent workers compared to 19 per cent of permanent staff say that the training they receive has no impact on their performance at work.

Currently, 84 per cent of UK employers use contingent workers, with 35 per cent of companies anticipating that their company’s use of these types of workers will increase in the next three to five years.

The study also found that these types of workers are less aware of the “purpose and value” of training to both themselves and the organisation (18 per cent compared to 23 per cent).

Globally, 68 per cent of contingent workers said if they had more control over the speed of workplace learning, they could learn new skills quicker. At the moment, in the UK the most common method for training contingent workers is on-the-job training (19 per cent).

John Yates, group director, corporate learning at City & Guilds Group, said:

Not only are the skills that businesses need transforming, so is the workforce itself. Contingent working arrangements are on the rise and becoming more important as both employers and employees seek greater flexibility in the face of an uncertain future.

However, our research shows that current workplace training programmes are not catering to this growing workforce – preventing both individuals and organisations from safeguarding their future. For employers, this is especially dangerous where workers aren’t receiving essential training like on-boarding or compliance – leaving them open to commercial and reputational risk. But it also extends to their broader development; in order for any worker to add the most value to their organisation, their skills need to keep up with the pace of change.

Organisations that do invest in their contingent workforce will also be more likely to attract high quality workers, and ultimately add more value to the economy by supporting the development of a skilled, productive society.

The study, was conducted amongst 500 employees and 100 employers in the UK and a further 6000 employees and 1200 employers globally.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.