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Don’t take a casual approach to casual staff, start-ups warned

Thursday, 29 November 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

A recruitment expert has warned start-ups to tread carefully with regard to casual staff, after a survey revealed more than a third of employers have increased their use of temporary workers over the past 12 months.

 

Martin Nally, managing director of HR firm hranywhere, says start-ups need to think carefully before hiring temporary workers.

 

“A start-up should really be careful about engaging casual staff. If they engage them as casuals, go for it. Knock yourself out,” he says.

 

“But if you engage them as replacements for full-timers, there are pitfalls.”

 

Nally’s comments come on the back of findings from recruitment firm Hays, which surveyed an unspecified number of temporary workers and their employers.

 

According to the survey, 31.2% of organisations consider temporary workers a key component of a long-term staffing strategy, while 24.2% consider them essential to their success.

 

Only 11.8% of employers see temporary workers as a temporary cost reduction measure.

 

The survey also shows demand for temporary workers is on the rise: 35.8% of employers said their use of temporary workers has increased over the past 12 months.

 

A staggering 83.1% said temporary workers constitute up to 25% of their workforce.

 

More than 70% said flexibility is an advantage of using temporary workers, while 54.1% find it advantageous that they can hire particular expertise for special projects.

 

Another bonus of using temporary workers is the relief it can provide permanent staff: 60% of the employers surveyed said it is one of the benefits they like.

 

According to Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia, temporary resources can support a permanent team.

 

“For the employer, there is also a reduced administrative burden as temporary workers are paid by a recruitment agency, are fully interviewed and reference checked,” he said in a statement.

 

“It is vital, however, employers make sure the temporary workers they hire are right for the job to ensure productivity and a good cultural fit.”

 

Encouragingly, more than 90% of the temporary workers surveyed said they are willing to take another temporary assignment in future.

 

This suggests the growth of temporary assignments has also been driven by candidates, many of whom are only interested in this type of work.

 

“Many people want greater flexibility… Consequently, there is a temporary worker candidate pool who are only interested in temporary assignments,” Deligiannis said.

 

Before hiring temporary workers, Nally says start-ups need to look at the needs of their business and define the classification of employment that suits those needs.

 

“Don’t just try and solve the [problem] by using casuals only… They’ve got to be careful about the fact that they pay the right amount, pay the right loadings, etc,” he says.

 

“They can’t avoid their national employment standard obligations just by calling someone a casual.”