Nine in ten employers in the UK will either stick with or increase their temporary workforce – including personal service company contractors – over the next three months.

New research from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has charted a 9% rise in employers looking to add to its temporary worker base in its April employment report. This is compared to the same report for March 2017.

This is likely indicative of an increasing reliance among UK employers on temporary workers, including contractors and freelancers. The reason for this is partially down to a decrease in the availability of qualified candidates for permanent roles.

REC’s survey found that of those companies currently using temporary workers, 65% are doing so to meet peaks in demand. More than half of employers surveyed said that temporary workers are being used to respond to growth, while 48% said they do so to access key strategic skills.

Kevin Green of the REC has described the current situation as a possible ‘tipping point’ for the jobs market.

“Faced with chronic skills shortages, some employers are giving up on trying to fill permanent vacancies, and instead looking for temp resource to ensure they have the manpower needed to meet demand,” he said. “For jobseekers this means there are opportunities out there to boost earnings, because employers are prepared to pay a premium for people to fill vacancies on an interim basis. We could see this become a more attractive option for people in the context of rising inflation and poor pay growth.”

Green also noted a growing sense of urgency among employers around this skills shortage.

“It threatens to throw the UK jobs market off track,” he added. “Whichever party forms a government after 8 June, we need to see action to improve the employability and skills of our young people, and to improve inclusion with underrepresented groups.”