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“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

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The latest data from Sigmar Recruitment’s Employer Sentiment Report suggests that most companies plan on hiring more contingent labour in order to deal with the extended market turbulence. Having surveyed 1000 Irish based companies, 91% of respondents said they are more likely to hire temps or contractors than before COVID-19. 

 

Commenting on the results, Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment says; “This may signify a fundamental shift in how workforces will be constituted moving forward as employers are wary of future market shocks. Whilst demand has rebounded since March, companies just don’t know how the market will react to a possible second wave of infections, topped with Brexit fears, so there are still challenges ahead for organisations and as a result they are hesitant to commit to permanent hires.” 

 

One third of all companies surveyed said it was likely or highly likely that they would increase the % of temp/contract staff they already engage. “This is the norm in early stages of an extended recovery. Seeing this trend emerge at polar ends of the labour market is indicative of a new K-Shaped labour market.” says Rudden. He adds; “When viewed, in parallel with the explosion of the gig economy in the last decade, we now see increasing demand for temporary or contract workers in most white-collar industries, not just the traditional area of office/administration roles.” Companies surveyed expected requirements for temp/contract talent to be highest across IT, engineering & life sciences, accountancy, and HR along with office/administration.  

 

Hiring on a temporary or contract basis gives organisations an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ i.e. hiring initially on a temporary basis before converting to permanent. “Given companies’ uncertainty at present, this model is potentially a perfect solution that enables businesses to ramp up and meet demand while the future looks uncertain. At the same time, it enables jobseekers to find work quickly. In our corresponding survey of 3500 candidates, the majority said they were more likely to consider temp or contract work than before the COVID-19 pandemic struck,” says Rudden.  

 

  • Flexible labour in demand at polar ends of the economy; powering growth in recovering sectors and offering interim cover for harder hit sectors

 

  • 91% of employers plan to expand contingent worker numbers as increasing uncertainty looms 

 

  • 82% of candidates would consider temp or contract positions if given more flexibility, like remote working 

 

Further, 82% of candidates said they would be more likely to consider temp or contract work if they were offered flexibility, such as remote working. 

 

This is significant change in attitude considering 60% of respondents had not worked in a temporary or contract capacity in the past two years. Rudden adds, “It likely not only reflects the impact of the current crisis in terms of people having lost employment but perhaps a wider acceptance that flexibility may be required as we move forward.”  

 

Whilst market uncertainty prevails, what is certain is that we are in the midst of an extended period of transformation in the workplace with blended workforces i.e. a mix of permanent and temp/contract staff perhaps becoming the norm. “Prior to COVID-19 there were already several examples of major multinationals with a significant proportion of staff engaged as agency temps or contractors. We predict an increase in such models being used by other businesses going forward,” says Rudden.  

 

For a copy of the report, contact Barry Rudden on +35314744612 or email brudden@sigmar.ie 

 

 

 

Posted by Barry Rudden on 8 October 2020

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