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A force for flexibility

Updated: 20 Jan 2016

With world economies at varying stages of crisis and recovery, employers need to be able to apply flexibility when it comes to workforce planning, says recruiting experts Hays.

In the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter shares its insights on the benefits of a flexible workforce of temporary staff and notes that temporary assignments have evolved to encompass very senior positions within business.

"During uncertain economic times, temporary assignments have the obvious benefit of allowing workloads to be completed at the same time as maintaining headcount flexibility," said Emma Charnock, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong & China. "This bank of temporary workers can flex with an organisation to mitigate the effects of the unknown.

"For example, when Japan"s economy was rocked by an earthquake and catastrophic tsunami in March this year, businesses turned to the country"s temporary workforce, or haken, to help manage disruptions experienced after the tragedy. Similarly, New Zealand is relying on temporary skills for the Christchurch rebuild.

"But temporary workers do not only offer benefits during times of uncertainty. A flexible workforce is also about a long-term workforce management plan in which such factors as project work, peak demands, annual leave and system updates are considered.

"Given emerging skills shortages, it"s also about the ability to access specific skills and broaden the pool of talent, rather than restricting your search to only candidates looking for a permanent role.

"Interestingly, the growth in temporary employment has been driven by employees themselves. Many people want greater flexibility in their working arrangements and consequently there is a huge temporary candidate pool who are only interested in temporary assignments."

According to Hays, the advantages of temporary assignments include:

  • Flexibility: Temporary workers can fulfil both long and short-term needs and can be engaged and released at short notice. Their expertise can also be engaged for special projects.
  • Support for your permanent workforce: Rather than continuously redistributing work between current permanent employees, which can reduce productivity, increase stress and may negatively impact quality and health and safety, temporary resources instead support a permanent team.
  • Reduced administrative burden: Engaging an experienced, fully referenced temporary candidate removes administrative burdens. They are paid by an agency, are fully interviewed and reference checked, and have undertaken any necessary pre-employment medicals and safety tickets.
  • Popular with candidates: Not everyone actually wants a permanent job. Those candidates attracted to temporary assignments see them as a way to gain a better work/life balance. For some, they provide the flexibility they need to be able to remain in the workforce, while others are attracted to the variety of the workload and the broader depth of opportunities, experience and skills they can develop in temporary assignments.

View the Hays Journal or contact your local Hays office.

Hays, the world"s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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