APSCo has just published its 2013 Yearbook, featuring 17 themed articles focusing on the benefits of flexible employment models in the UK. Umbrella Company Employees and other freelancers are, it claims, the new normal, as employers move away from the traditional assumption that temporary workers were merely gap fillers, holding the fort during permanent staff absences.

The need for a contingent workforce that can be expanded or contracted in line with fluctuating business demand has undoubtedly grown during our uncertain economic conditions, the Yearbook suggests, but employers are also waking up to the fact that some flexible workers are also a valuable resource in their own right. Highly skilled professionals working though Umbrella Companies or other freelancing models will not only bring a repertoire of sought-after skills but will also bring experience of different management styles and business practises. The implication is that this experience equips them to hit the ground running rather than requiring lengthy and costly induction programmes.

Acknowledging that permanent staff may be paid less than contractors, APSCo’s chief executive Ann Swain said that employers also face “significant additional costs” when they hire full-time employees. She writes: “So while an increase in temporary placements may not appear good news as permanent hires fall, the use of contract workers is offering a great deal of flexibility to both employers and employees. It may be that we are entering into a new era of corporate agility and that freelancers, temporary workers contractors and those that work part-time will no longer be seen as ‘atypical’ but as the new way of working.”

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