Jobbing PAYE umbrella contactors may be interested in the REC’s latest JobsOutlook report, which reveals a “marked dip” in hiring intentions vis-à-vis permanent posts.

The REC’s monthly survey is based on the responses of 600 UK employers. The number of employers planning to increase their permanent workforce fell from 65% to 63% over the month, while 31% plan to maintain current staffing levels.

The finding, which is likely to be of most interest to placement-hunting contractors working through umbrella companies or limited companies, concerns demand for temporary staff. As we reported here recently, the good news is that this appears to be strong despite the passing of the first AWR equal entitlement deadline over the Christmas period.

Many had feared that firms would start purging their workplaces of temporary staff of all kinds in January as a result of the AWR but, so far at least, there is no evidence of this. 27% of employers intend to expand their temporary staff and a further 57% plan to maintain temporary staffing at current levels, making a total of 84% who have no plans to cut agency staff.

REC Director of Research Roger Tweedy said that the rise in employer caution is attributable to the continuing sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone. He added:

“The outlook for temporary staff remains encouraging despite the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) now being in force. … [T]he vast majority of businesses plan to maintain or increase their use of temporary staff which indicates that flexible working options will continue to provide an important outlet for employers and job-seekers.”

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