We recently reported on an encouraging rise in demand for PAYE umbrella contractors during October, as recorded in Reed Recruitment’s monthly Jobs Index; now the REC’s latest JobsOutlook report appears to confirm the trend.

The data reveals a continuing strong demand for agency workers and other temps, a substantial proportion of whom are contractors working through umbrella companies. Demand has survived grim economic conditions and the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations, which many had feared would amount to a ‘double whammy’ for the flexible workforce.

More than a quarter of employers (28%) plan to increase their temporary workforce over the next quarter, while 52% intend to maintain it at current levels. Moreover, 83% said they would be maintaining or increasing their temporary workforce over the longer term.

In the face of the feared meltdown in the Eurozone, UK employers remain confident about expanding their workforce over the next twelve months, including permanent posts. Well over half the respondents (59%) plan to appoint more permanent staff while 35% intend to maintain current levels – an impressive surge of 20 points on September’s figures.

Conceding that economic prospects continue to indicate slower growth, REC Director of Research Roger Tweedy said “Hiring intentions for temps are up on this time last year despite the Agency Worker Regulations coming into force in October. Although the full impact of these Regulations will not be apparent until the first tranche of workers end their 12 week qualifying period, the early signs are that temporary and contract work will continue to provide a key outlet for employers and workers.”

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