The latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD/SuccessFactors forecasts continued growth in employment during Q1 2013, the fourth consecutive quarter to see increased hiring despite faltering economic conditions. The report offers some illuminating speculations on how this jobs enigma has arisen.

One factor is the expansion in part-time work, with 33% of the employers polled admitting that they had reduced the hours of some of their employees over the last five years. Another factor is that some organisations are retaining staff, effectively as spare capacity in anticipation that output will grow in 2013.

A key finding in the survey is that employment levels are being boosted by an expansion in the number of temporary contracts – 29% of new recruits in the first quarter of 2013 are expected to be hired on this basis. Conceding that some workers have found that the rise in flexible working arrangements has meant fewer hours, less security and less money than they want (44% said they would prefer a permanent contract) the CIPD’s labour market adviser, Gerwyn Davies, added: “For others, however, this provides greater opportunities to secure flexible working.  This is especially the case for older workers, who have fared best since the recession, but still have the greatest difficulty re-entering the jobs market.”

Not all temporary contracts are the same, of course. Although not mentioned directly in the report, a proportion of temporary personnel have positively chosen to work flexibly as Umbrella Company Employees, offering skilled talent to firms as and when business requirements dictate.

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