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Property and construction workers seek balance between security and family life

Property and construction workers use temporary work to increase their income and achieve greater work-life balance, but are held back by concerns over benefits, according to research released today (Tuesday 17 December 2019).

The research, carried out by recruitment experts Reed Specialist Recruitment asked 5,000 UK employees about their experience of, and attitude to, temporary and contract working.

Of the sample of 5,000, 150 respondents were from the property and construction industry. The survey found that while 9% of workers in property and construction considered non-permanent work to be their main job, and just 6% held more than one temporary role there was a real desire for the flexibility, variety of and autonomy that temporary working offers.

There are 38% of people working in property and construction who identify work-life balance as a positive of temporary working – higher than the national average of 37% - with more than a third (31%) saying that greater variety of work was a positive effect of temporary working.  There was almost a quarter (23%) that were drawn to the idea of working for themselves and 17% that liked the ability to supplement their income from a permanent role.

Despite the positives experienced within the property and construction sector, almost half (47%) of those asked said they preferred the security of a permanent role and almost a third (32%) said they liked the benefits such as sick pay and pension of a permanent role.   

John Darby, Reed Property & Construction expert, said: “Property and construction workers find themselves already steeped in a history of contractors and sub-contractors. While the sector is experiencing a period of uncertainty, it’s also primed to make use of a versatile and skilled workforce.

"An upturn in orders for building work could see a repeat of past situations, for example as in previous years, when there was a shortage of highly skilled staff and during a peak of demand project completion timescales suffered. In this scenario, the belief by a significant number that temporary work could supplement their income is certainly a valid one.

“With skills and technology within the sector in constant development it certainly plays into the lap of the employee that can upskill with the times. However, temporary work also gives the employer an advantage. High order volumes of work can be addressed in a sustainable manner that doesn’t affect the resilience of the business – an issue which is rife in construction which experiences thousands of insolvencies each year.

“If employers and employees can find the right balance between temporary and permanent work there is a real advantage to be had with a consistent flow of work for employees and strength and durability for employers. And that benefits everyone.”