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Number of temporary workers in retail hits high in August

Published: 15 September 2010
New data from temporary agency labour procurer de Poel shows the use of temporary agency workers in the retail industry hit a year high in August.
Number of temporary workers in retail hits high in August
Figures show that the number of hours worked by temporary agency workers in the sector increased by 27% compared with July.

The data suggests more businesses are relying on temporary labour as they are still reluctant to hire permanent staff in the face of uncertain economic times and the possibility of a double dip recession, said de Poel.

Ceo Matthew Sanders said: "As business confidence declines, temporary agency workers are being relied upon more heavily to fill skills gaps in the workforce. Therefore it is imperative that the Government considers the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) carefully when reviewing it next month before it is due to come into force next year."

The AWR will see temporary workers gain the same rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks in a position.

Mr Sanders continued: "Temporary agency workers are the backbone of UK plc offering a rapid solution to market fluctuations, often filling skills gaps at a short notice, especially during times of economic unrest. Although the AWR legislation does not come into force until October 2011, the Government needs to make a decision about the introduction of the regulations sooner rather than later so that organisations can begin to prepare for the changes now.

"Consideration from businesses also needs to be given as to how they are going to place temporary agency workers within their organisation in the future to ensure they can still maintain an efficient, cost effective, flexible workforce, without breaking the rules."

However, employment figures released by the Office of National Statistics today showed that the employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 for the three months to July 2010 was 70.7%, up 0.4% on the quarter. According to the report, there has not been a larger quarterly increase in the employment rate since the three months to May 1989.

The unemployment rate for the three months to July 2010 was 7.8%, down 0.1% on the quarter. The number of unemployed people fell by 8,000 over the quarter to reach 2.47m.

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