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News round-up

Posted on 28th September 2015

Businesses happy to bring in agency workers

Many employers are willing to use agency workers throughout their organisation, a new survey has found.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), 73 per cent bring in agency workers to take advantage of their key strategic skills.

In many cases, this is leading to them being offered full-time jobs. Indeed, 48 per cent of respondents revealed that in the last three months, they have given permanent contracts to at least one temporary member of staff.

This reflects the improving sentiment among employers, as 74 per cent said they think confidence in the economy is getting better.

Some 98 per cent said they plan to either maintain or increase their reliance on agency workers, as most do not have the capacity to take on extra work without hiring more people.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, commented: "Employers are consistently telling us about the importance of temporary workers, especially in areas where there are skills shortages. People with managerial experience are especially in demand, and this points to the need within many businesses to implement changes in order to boost productivity."

1 in 2 workers want to change career

While employers seem to be becoming increasingly confident, a new study by the London School of Business and Finance suggests this isn't necessarily the case among workers.

Research shows that 47 per cent of workers in the UK would like to move into a new career. However, many feel that the current labour market is so insecure that they are hesitant to quit their job - as they consider themselves lucky to be in work at all.

This suggests that staff retention rates at many firms could be misleading to an extent, as they may not be the best measure of employee satisfaction. Indeed, nearly one in four employees polled said they wish they had not chosen their current job.

Dr Steve Priddy, director of research and academic dean at LSBF, observed: "If we listen to what's being said about the economy, everything's going really well, the economy is growing, pay rises are coming through, but you contrast that with what’s come through in our survey and you get a very different message."

He has therefore called on human resources managers to do more to engage with staff and remember that people are motivated by more than financial gain.

"And it seems we all know these simple straightforward things which can be done for engagement, encouraging innovation and so on, but clearly we’re not getting them right," he added.

Choosing profession 'one of the most important decisions in life'

Picking a job has been identified as one of the biggest decisions a person will make in life.

According to a survey commissioned by the REC, 77 per cent believe choosing what to do as a job is the most important life decision they will make.

This came ahead of picking when to start a family, choosing where to live, whether to enter a marriage or civil partnership, picking friends and deciding which political party to support.

The survey also looked into what factors influence people's decisions on where to work. Eight in ten said they want to do something they enjoy, while a similar proportion were swayed by salary and benefits. Work-life balance was also important to many, along with where their place of work is located.

Kevin Green of the REC said work is deemed very important as it has a big influence on other aspects of people's lives.

"Not only does it enable you to earn the money you need to provide for yourself and your family, take a holiday, buy a house - a job also allows you to feel you are part of something," he commented.
Respondents identified many reasons why they consider their job important, beyond paying the bills. For instance, 42 per cent said they had been able to develop their skillset as a result of their position, while 39 per cent value being able to work flexible hours. And interestingly, 43 per cent said work had enabled them to make new friends.