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Adecco Retail Potential Story: The Experience of UK Temporary Workers


New research from Adecco Retail, part of the world leading workforce solutions provider Adecco Group, has revealed that the temporary workforce remains a largely untapped resource for many employers, as worker enthuasiasm for the role is undermined by poor employment practices.

The research comes ahead of the festive period, when thousands of temporary staff are enrolled to help keep retailers, the hospitality sector and the wider economy running smoothly at one of the busiest times of the year.

According to the research, temporary workers appreciate this working solution at key junctures in their lives, but feel their on the job experience could be improved by better support from their employers.

For the young, temporary work can offer that all important first rung on the ladder, with 36% of temporary workers aged 16-24 saying they value the experience as an opportunity to gain new skills or experience.

Likewise, temporary work offers greater flexibility and worklife balance for the over 55s, with 33% and 27% citing these advantages, respectivity. Women were also more likely to pursue temporary employment because of the flexibility it allows them, with 28% seeking temporary work for this reason compared to 19% of men.

However, the research also revealed that ‘temps’ believe their experience could be improved by better support from their employers, as employers fail to make the most of the enthusiasm of their non-permanent workforce.

The research found that temporary workers’ often negative experiences of being on the periphery of permanent teams are impacting their morale – and presumably their performance. 69% worried about the uncertainty of their position; 33% did not feel comfortable taking holiday and 27% cited a lack of training opportunities. Just 13% say they have the same benefits as permanent staff.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows over 1.6 million people, or 6.1% of all employees, are temporary workers.

Alex Fleming, President, Adecco Retail, said:

“Temporary workers are a highly valuable part of the UK workforce. As working lives become longer, and the concept of a ‘job for life’ declines, it is more likely that the flexibility of temporary work will be sought at some point in a long working career. Not only is the flexibility highly appealing but temporary work also offers workers a chance to increase their skill base and experience through contract roles.

“We want UK employers to make the most of this talent pool. It is well known that job satisfaction and output go hand in hand, so investing in engaging proactively with temporary staff should be a win-win.”

Adecco Retail’s top tips for an engaged temporary workforce are:

  1. Provide temps with a thorough initial briefing covering their rights, objectives and the value of their work to the wider permanent team – strong management procedures offer all employees reassurance and a sense of security.
  1. Include temporary workers in any all team meetings and staff social events so that they feel included during their time in your organisation. This can also help break down barriers with the permanent team.
  1. Involve temps in any training offered to the permanent team. These individuals contribute to the success of your organisation and it is worth investing in their development, especially if they return to your organisation on another temporary contract in the future.