Fewer companies are using seasonal workers, as the nature of employment changes.
Research shows that while nearly all companies in the UK (95 per cent) use some form of temporary, casual or agency employee, the role of seasonal workers is in decline, with only 41 per cent of organisations using them.
The main reason for using temporary staff is now strategic - providing flexibility - and these workers enjoy increasingly fair treatment, according to The Work Foundation's new Managing Best Practice guide, Managing contract and temporary workers.
The Work Foundation asked UK organisations about the way they employ agency, seasonal/casual and contract workers and found major changes in patterns of use. Agency workers are now the most popular (85 per cent), followed by fixed term contractors (73 per cent) and seasonal/casual staff (41 per cent).
Just as dramatic is the changing rationale for their use. The top two reasons for using non-permanent staff were to provide flexibility, either for business cycles (71 per cent) or short-term staffing shortfalls (62 per cent).
Organisations are clearly keen to control fixed costs and are much more adept at managing fluctuations through the use of temporary cover. More than 80 per cent of service sector organisations in the survey used temporary employees to match demand and supply fluctuations.
For those people in temporary positions, the situation is increasingly good. Nearly 7 in 10 companies (68 per cent) report that they make some temporary staff permanent and that they give increasing parity with permanent employees.
Nick Isles, deputy director of advocacy at The Work Foundation, said: "We have witnessed irreversible changes in work. Flexibility is a real area of business necessity and organisations are using temporary working to deliver that last vital few per cent of advantage.
"Flexible working, such as annualised hours, is dramatically changing the need for temporary workers, as are other developments such as the use of older staff to inject knowledge into a business. To quite some degree, this explains why there seem to be fewer and fewer summer jobs.
"One excellent trend is the greater parity being given to tempo