Finance departments in UK businesses are turning in greater numbers to temporary/contracting professionals, according to new research by specialist recruiter Robert Half UK.

200 chief finance officers were surveyed in the study. Almost one-third (31%) said that they had increased their use of temporary/contracting and interim professionals somewhat or significantly since 2011.

The poll suggests that organisations throughout the UK are increasingly turning to professionals contracting via Umbrella Companies and other freelancing arrangements to augment their permanent headcount. Agency workers have become more important to ensure critical work processes are carried out in the context of major regulatory change. Temporary/interim staff accounted for 18% of departmental headcounts before the regulations kicked in, but have climbed to 26% a year after their introduction. Small businesses were more likely to use agency staff, hiring 30% on average.

Robert Half UK’s managing director, Phil Sheridan, said: “Despite regulatory changes, finance leaders continue to rely on the cost effectiveness that temporary professionals offer an organisation, allowing companies to account for workload peaks and troughs without incurring the fixed cost of a permanent hire. With the challenging business environment amidst continued economic uncertainty, some hiring managers are taking advantage of the knowledge and skills that interim professionals can bring to a company’s bottom line.”

He added that businesses were capitalising on the “readily available and highly trained temporary and interim market”. This enables them, he explained, to respond more rapidly to workload fluctuations by drafting in specialists to carry out specific programmes, confident that they are engaging people with the required experiences.

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