Tapping the value of temps
Employers are increasingly hiring temporary workers to fill secretarial and business support jobs on a non-fixed-term basis as economic uncertainty continues.
With organisations facing continued headcount freezes and with expansion plans remaining on hold for many businesses, temporary workers are in strong demand to meet growing workloads.
The increased use of temporary workers, drawn from a highly developed and flexible workforce, and a notable rise in the availability of strong temp talent in the market, was highlighted in the recent Report on Jobs from KPMG and REC.
Temps in demand
The report shows that the temporary jobs market grew at a quicker pace during July 2011 than on the previous month and that a rise in temp availability was the strongest since the start of the year.
"Often the demands of clients and the business may not enable the current workforce to cope with the volume of work given, temps can solve this problem," said Claire Ashley, director of Page Personnel Secretarial & Business Support.
"The temp population has grown steadily since the downturn in 2008 due to uncertain times and more challenging budgets and the uncertainty of when these markets will change again," said Claire.
"Temps can come in and work for a day, week or month and add additional skills to a business which you might not need full time. Temps also allow flexibility in cover for maternity leave and project management for office moves or end of financial year which may not require resources all year round," Claire said.
The value of temps
According to the REC report, temporary secretarial and business support appointments quickened in July with employers cautious in making new permanent hires as growth in the economy is slower than at the start of 2011.
Kevin Green, CEO of the REC said: "Employers are using large numbers of temporary workers which, with the Agency Workers Regulations less than two months away from implementation, shows that businesses continue to see the value of using a flexible workforce."
According to the REC boss, "the UK's flexible labour market is a key reason why employment is continuing to grow."
Skill sets for temp jobs
So, as the UK jobs market continues to grow, what secretarial and business support skill sets are in demand?
"Outstanding IT skills will offer the most bookings," said Claire. Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook still very popular as is project management experience, HR skills and use of SAP package as well as flexibility which is key.
"A positive and upbeat personality also allows you to make the most of the booking – you never know what can happen from the temp booking – it's like a working interview," said Claire.