The Temporary Talent Revolution

With fast turnarounds and smaller fees, I believe it is the area in which consultants are most needed.

1.6 million temporary workers are placed daily and Britain is the self-employment capital of Europe with the 4.5 million temporary labour market rising 1% year on year.

Although many of us are starting to celebrate the improvements in the rates of unemployment and gain confidence in the future of both our economy and the recruitment industry, I think there is potential for a word of caution – and one I believe we need to act on to ensure these improvements are sustainable rather than short lived.


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We are increasingly becoming a society that lives on temporary employment, where people work independently and secure short term contracts or opportunities whether in construction of the creative industries. Our careers have become our control and in securing a healthy stream of opportunities we have had to become our own agents, our own sales team and entrepreneurial in our approach to work.

There are huge numbers of people that will not be prepared for this and unsure of how to function in their personal lives with a lack of security and dependency from their professional ones. Employers have become in control of a human bidding machine in which hundreds of people apply for small opportunities, lowering and lowering the value simply to ensure they secure the opportunity.

The result is that more people are living in poverty than ever before with the change in regular pay at the lowest on record. Temporary labour will not solve youth unemployment and is unable to provide the learning and development many individuals need as they enter the world of work.

Although many recruiters have little interest in the temporary labour market, with fast turnarounds and smaller fees, I believe it is the area in which consultants are most needed. I believe it is the area in which we have the power to make change. As the CEO of the PGF Group, I have built a successful network of temporary recruitment consultancies and taken the group to a £30 million turnover in just one year.

We have done this by making temporary talent matter. We have done this by being fair, by making my candidates and clients matter and making sure that our clients get top quality talent and we act, on behalf as our candidates to secure fair rates of pay and security in their contracts. My belief is that recruiters need to consider the realities of temporary recruitment and understand the needs of both their clients and candidates. We understand the health and safety regulations clients need to adhere to. We understand the challenges candidates face in managing their pay and support them in that. We know when to text, when to call and when to email both clients and candidates and more than anything, we believe we are delivering a service to the market rather than aiming for 20% fees on three figure salaries that have become out of date in a world that is ever changing.

As recruiters, I believe we need to adapt, to innovate and serve the needs of both our clients and candidates. We need to understand the temporary labour market and solve the problems that brings for candidates and clients rather than forcing our old model, our old fee structure and old priorities into an industries that has evolved.

The temporary talent revolution is here and I wonder what you, as a recruiter will be doing about it?

Phil Taylor-Guck

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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