The number of temporary jobs has increased by a third over the past year – but hourly pay has risen at the fastest pace for almost seven years, according to new research.
Employment firm Reed said the biggest increases in temporary posts were in retail, energy and consultancy work, especially in the West Midlands and the North East.
Permanent jobs also increased in sectors including transport, leisure and tourism, legal and education, said Reed.
Chairman James Reed said: “The recent increase in temporary vacancies is a positive by-product of an increasingly buoyant jobs market.
“More confidence means more movement within the market, and temporary and contract workers are helping to fill important skills gaps.
“Many employers like the flexibility that temporary staff offer and, for candidates, a temporary assignment or contract role can be an excellent way to demonstrate suitability and secure a permanent position.
“We’ve recently started asking temporary workers to let us know of their availability via our website and more than 50,000 responded in the first week, showing a very clear demand for this type of work.”
Another report, by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, showed that hourly pay rates for temporary and contract workers increased last month at the fastest pace since the end of 2007.
There was also an increase in permanent jobs, although the rate of growth eased to a 10-month low.
Kevin Green, chief executive of REC, said: “Once again more people have secured permanent and temporary jobs via recruiters than in the previous month, a sign of the continued strength of the UK’s labour market.
“Hourly pay for people on temporary contracts has risen at the fastest pace for nearly seven years, which shows that employers are bringing in temps and contractors with the skills they need quickly and are willing to pay to do so.
“The increasing lack of candidates continues to be a worry as shortages spread across more industries.
It’s not just engineers and IT specialists that recruiters are finding it hard to source – blue-collar roles like bricklayers, drivers and electricians are getting harder and harder to fill too.”
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “With vacancies increasing and unemployment falling, these figures are a further indication our long-term economic plan is helping Britain to recover from one of the deepest recessions in living memory.”