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Agency worker numbers set to reach a million by 2020

05 December 2016

Following growth of 30% since 2011 for the number of agency workers in the UK, the current figure of 865,000 is set to increase to 1m by 2020, according to the latest research.

Conducted by the Resolution Foundation, it follows last week's announcement by the government of a review of modern working practices.

The organisation is known for its support for issues addressing low payment and states that full-time agency workers receive up to £430 less than an employee in the same role, according to the BBC.

Further results of the Resolution Foundation study include the figure that 50% of agency workers report that they work on a permanent basis.

Although there were justifiable reasons for organisations to use agency workers, the issue of low pay was a concerning factor, it said.

Health and social work sectors are the most frequent users of agency workers, said the survey, followed by manufacturing and business within operations including conferences and consultancy services.

Just under 18% are based in the London area, while 60% are UK nationals.

Senior policy analyst Lindsay Judge was quoted by the BBC as saying:

"While zero-hours contracts are often in the news, agency workers are the 'forgotten face' of the modern workforce, despite being just as prevalent across the labour market."

Within this, many "older full-time, permanent workers" are frequently seen, in addition to the younger generations, she continued.

Zero-hours has also received negative policy of late, particularly in the light of the issues experienced by workers at Sports Direct.

However, there are also numerous examples of workers reporting that this type of work suits their lifestyle better than full-time, permanent contracts.

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