Private sector firms’ views of flexible labour could hamper recovery

Private sector employers view flexible working as simply a cost benefit rather than a way of tapping into new skillsets and are at risk of missing opportunities to take advantage of the upturn and drive the recovery, a leading recruitment organisation has warned.

Hays surveyed more than 1,100 workers and found that for more than 30% of private sector employers avoiding permanent headcount was the greatest motivation for using temporary, contract or interim workers. In stark contrast, public sector employers cited access to specific skillsets as the biggest incentive behind this way of working.

The findings also showed employers in the public sector have a more positive view of temporary workers, with 44% citing them as essential to the success of their organisation. Yet only one-third of private sector employers agreed and instead view temporary workers as a cost reduction tactic.

In addition, the study revealed 54% of employers think organisations need to recognise the benefits brought by a mix of temporary and permanent staff.

Charles Logan, director at Hays, said: “As we start to see signs of an improvement in the economy, a flexible workforce will be essential in allowing business to grow, without the commitment of a permanent member of staff. The private sector could be missing the opportunity to use a flexible workforce as a key part of their plans, to take better advantage of the upturn and drive recovery.”

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