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Loss of self-employed workers exceeds 500k and temp numbers hide a surge in FTC working 

In the January issue of Workforce Barometer, we analyse the latest ONS data to provide you with insights into the economic impact of the pandemic on the sector, the evolving profile of the extended furlough scheme, and at look at what’s happening in the temporary employment/self-employed jobs market in September 2020.

The ONS data for the period September – November 2020 revealed a landmark figure of the number of self-employed workers plummeting year-on- year by more than half a million (510,000).  

Whilst the same ONS Labour Market Update shows a more buoyant picture for temporary employment – up 58,000 year-on-year – analysis of data for the first month of the period show that it is, in fact, Fixed-Term Contract (FTC) work, where engagement is usually directly with the hirer, that is driving growth within this cohort.

As such, it is no surprise that the UK GDP figures report that output from those involved within employment services remains in the region of 21% down on pre-pandemic levels, albeit falling by just 0.4% in November 2020, as we moved into ‘lockdown 2’, compared to a fall of 23.9% in April 2020 (due to increased demand from schools, warehousing, retail and health, when compared to the first lockdown).

With anecdotal feedback from FCSA members suggesting that their own numbers have either fully recovered or are heading in the right direction, we are encouraged by the fact that there is increasing demand for FCSA Approved Member services to support a clearly diminished pool of contingent workers. 

Also making the headlines In this month’s report:

  • 6% fall in GDP in November 2020 renders it 8.5% below the pre-pandemic level
  • Redundancy announcements continue at pace, coupled with some notable signs of (online) optimism
  • Furloughed numbers surge again in January 2021
  • Job posting volumes decline again
  • 828k fewer workers on payrolls than in March 2020 but a slight month-on-month uptick in December 2020

Download FCSA Workforce Barometer Report