Top 5 temporary staffing trends expected in 2018

The temporary staffing sector has changed dramatically over the past 12 months. To claim 2017 was the start of a “staffing crisis” in the UK is somewhat dramatic, but we are certainly in challenging times with Brexit, the weak pound, and low unemployment levels all contributing to a difficult temporary staffing landscape.

We have reviewed the common trends of 2017, and compiled what we think to be the top 5 temporary staffing trends for 2018. Whether our predictions are right or wrong, one thing is for sure; companies must innovate hiring practices to adapt to the rapidly changing recruitment landscape.

1. Wages will increase faster than the Living Wage rate
The government has signalled an aggressive rate rise this year for Britain’s minimum wage workers, but the plan to raise the rate to £9 an hour by 2020 has been set back by the weaker than expected economy. Philip Hammond, the UK chancellor, has said the national living wage rate (which applies to those over 25) will increase from its current £7.50 per hour to £7.83 in April 2018. This is a 4.4% increase, which is likely to exceed inflation.

However, the real driving force behind wage rates sits with supply and demand, and with a shrinking talent pool of minimum wage workers in the UK since Brexit, rates are likely to increase faster than government legislation. This is something we’ve already seen on our platform, with the average Kitchen Porter role in London at the start of 2017 advertised at £7.50, compared with £8.05 at the end of 2017.

2. Further integration of technology in the workplace
There was extensive media coverage during 2017 regarding how technology is set to replace humans in the workplace in the near future; however, whilst this theory makes a great headline, it’s unlikely to be a reality for many years to come.

Instead of robots replacing humans in the workplace, what we are seeing is increased technology deployment supporting humans to become more efficient. Some examples of how our clients are deploying technology to support their workforce includes a fast food chain using tablet ordering, and a warehouse deploying audio picking instructions with integrated AI to replace a traditional pick sheet.

3. Multi-skilled operatives will become more commonplace
In 2017 Asda made a change to their instore staffing structure which reflects that of many industry leaders; they offered training to instore staff to become multi-disciplined across various sections in their stores. This provides flexibility with their workforce, with the ability to restructure existing teams in line with store demand.

We have seen many similar instances amongst our employer-base, specifically within contract catering companies utilising front of house staff for kitchen support during peak periods.

4. Conversational online recruitment becomes more effective than job boards
There has been an explosion of online job boards over the past 3 years, covering everything from free adverts through to specialist niche disciplines. This bombardment of platforms has led to what many are calling “job-board fatigue”, whereby candidates are tired of submitting CVs to dozens of job ads often not to hear anything back.

In 2017 we saw the start of “conversational recruitment”, which is set to become mainstream in 2018. Conversational recruitment predominantly centres on social media platforms, and utilises chat-bots to engage with potential candidates to extract relevant information in relation to their suitability for a role. Flexy rolled out conversational recruitment in 2017, which led to a 35% efficiency gain with recruiting candidates.

5. Portfolio careers amongst professionals and older generations
With a predicted net migration decrease in the UK of over 200,000 in 2017, companies must turn to alternative talent pools to keep up with demand. Fortunately, there is an emerging trend of professionals and older generations utilising part-time roles to top-up their income, as pursue more vocational careers, rather than traditional 9-5 jobs.

To capitalise on this shift of working behaviour, companies that offer flexible hours and shift patterns will benefit most, with flexibility becoming increasingly valued job benefit, often above wage rate.


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