Public Sector Contingent Labour Spend rises 20% post pandemic

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We have seen our clients grow their investment in temporary and fixed-contract staff by a fifth since the end of the Covid pandemic.

The largest increases were seen in Qualified Social Care, where spending has risen by almost a third. This is followed by investment in Interim recruitment, which grew by a quarter over the same period. Non-Qualified Social Care, meanwhile, saw the biggest percentage increase in contingent workforce spending.

This recruitment trend means the social care sector now accounts for over 55% of the UK’s local authority contingent workforce. Furthermore, Matrix, which works with over a third (35%) of local authorities across England and Wales, reveals that this increase in demand and competition for resources has elongated average time to hire for temporary social care vacancies while also increasing average pay rates by 17.8% on average since May 2021. However, Matrix statistics show this pay impact varies significantly between roles, ranging from 15.1% for Qualified Social Care positions to just 4.1% for Interim jobs, with further variance recorded by region.

“Our figures reveal the shift of the public sector towards an increasingly blended workforce of permanent and temporary staff,” said Matrix CEO Mark Inskip. “The question is whether this is a passing trend or if the public sector is following many parts of the private sector towards a balanced workforce composition strategy.

“What is clear, is that key scarce functions such as social care are witnessing an unprecedented exodus, at a time of ever-increasing demand on services. Wage inflation is not keeping up, which is driving continued upward pressure on temporary worker pay rates. Memorandums of Understanding were designed to address some of these challenges, and while we have seen some positive impact on rate governance within regions, the practical impact of this approach clearly shows that there is much work to do in light of these compelling statistics.”

Matrix contingent workforce statistics are drawn from tens of millions of data points, with its platform processing 23,700 timesheets a week. Many of these come from public sector staff, with the company having 14,000 temporary workers live in local authorities placements at any given moment.

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