The temporary staffing industry and economic change


The temporary staffing industry has experienced substantial growth over the last decade, with global revenues reaching around €300 billion in 2013, generated by around 260,000 temporary staffing agencies and 12 million temporary agency workers worldwide. Traditionally this industry has been concentrated in labour markets of the advanced economies, predominantly the US and Western Europe. However, as patterns of global development have shifted, so too have the ways in which labour markets operate. New frontiers of growth for the temporary staffing industry have developed in emerging economies across the globe against a plethora of socio-economic and political contexts. This research project explores the growth and development of temporary agency work in different national contexts, to consider opportunities and constraints for the industry, as well as the role that temporary agency work can play in these labour markets. 

It addresses the following questions:

  1. What is the role of the temporary staffing industry in contrasting political economic contexts?
  2. What factors affect the development of the use of temporary agency work in different economies?
  3. What are the interactions and interdependencies between temporary staffing agencies and other public and private sector intermediaries?
  4. To what extent does the temporary staffing industry act as an active agent of labour market, and in what ways?

The analytical work of the different national temporary staffing industries and the way they operate in different labour markets is designed to advance our understanding of labour market operations, challenges and developments, particularly around the use and nature of temporary work. This project is designed to deliver impact to a broad range of stakeholders, including academics, policy makers, those working in the industry and the general public. 

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