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23% expect to increase use of temporary staff, finds Hays

Almost one quarter (23%) of Australian employers say they now employ temporary or contract staff on a regular ongoing basis, with another 44% employing them for special projects or workloads.


According to the 2017 Hays Salary Guide, based on a survey of more than 2,950 organisations representing 3,021,984 employees, in the next 12 months 23% expect to increase their use of temporary and contract staff. This exceeds the 9% who anticipate decreasing in this area.


This increase will be greatest in IT departments, where 37% of employers will increase their use of temporaries and contractors. The use of temporary and contract staff will also rise in 32% of project management and purchasing/procurement departments, 30% of marketing departments, 28% of engineering departments, 25% of operational management departments, 23% of HR departments, 18% of sales departments and 12% of accountancy & finance departments.


Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays, said, “Highly-skilled temporary and contract staff are certainly becoming the ‘new normal’ in workplaces, creating a blended workforce of temporary and permanent employees who work side-by-side.


“Temporary and contract employees fill staffing or knowledge gaps, assist with projects, bring particular expertise that is difficult to find or not required daily, and offer flexibility since they can be released at short notice without financial penalty.”


But according to Deligiannis, there’s another factor contributing to the increase: non-routine jobs.


“If we look at the skills in demand, it is professionals who can undertake non-routine work who are seeing the highest job growth,” he said. “This is likely to continue, with automation and artificial intelligence already beginning to take over manual and repetitive tasks – just think of automated self-service checkouts in retail stores or assembly lines in manufacturing plants.


“Yes robots and AI are expected to also be used as another tool to help us do our job better, but with automation taking over routine tasks it is knowledge workers who are more likely to be needed in future.


“By their very nature temporary and contract employees possess a high level of relevant knowledge. They are experts in their field and come into a workplace to add value immediately. It’s no wonder then that we’re seeing an increase in the use of temporary and contract staff,” he said.


According to Reserve Bank research, ‘routine manual’ jobs as a share of employment have fallen by 10 percentage points in the past three decades while ‘cognitive routine’ jobs have fallen since the early 2000s.


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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