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Temporary work in public sector vital to boosting job and career opportunities, say workers

Public sector workers want the work-life balance and greater variety of work that temporary work will bring, but are held back by the security a permanent role offers, according to research released today (Tuesday 17 December 2019).

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

Of the sample of 5,000, 326 respondents were from public service and administration. The survey found that while 7% considered non-permanent work to be their main job, with a real desire for the flexibility and variety that temporary working offers.

There are 41% of people working in public services who identify work-life balance as a positive of temporary working – higher than the national average of 37%. And more than a third (36%) said that greater variety of work was a positive effect of temporary working with 31% citing the experience to improve their CV and future opportunities appealed to them.

Despite the positives experienced within the public sector, two thirds (67%) of those asked identified that they preferred the security of a permanent role and more than half (53%) said they liked the benefits such as sick pay and pension of a permanent role.   

Victoria O’Connor, Reed Business Support expert, said: “Public sector workers are a key part of the UK economy. The role they play is invaluable, making sure that the country keeps going and that essential services are operating accordingly for public use.

"It is a role that requires employees to be able to adapt to constant changes, and to be able to collaborate with key stakeholders and third parties. It’s a rewarding, yet energy intensive job. This is why the sector feels so strongly about work-life balance and spending more time with their family.

“During the 2019 general election, there has been a widespread promise of fresh investment into the public sector so there will undoubtedly be a need for more employment. Using temporary work to deliver greater work-life balance and yet still offer the benefits of pension and holiday pay – through agency policies – could be a way forward for a significant number who are tempted by these options.  

“Moreover, with a growing population, the UK’s need for public sector will only increase. If we, as employers, can help to meet those numbers with skilled, dedicated and passionate teams then we will. And temporary working could be one way to do that.”