23rd May 2022

Getting agency workers into better paid roles to combat the cost of living crisis

Recruitment

High prices starting to bite right around the world

In economies around the world, from EMEA, to APAC and the Americas, national economies and individuals are orienting themselves with the realities of volatile markets driving staggering increases in the cost of living. For many it is not just about feeling the pinch and tightening the belt.

However, the severity of the situation is not equally shared. In France, for example, the government has intervened to prevent sky-high energy costs, as have countries and regions such as Spain, Germany and Scandinavia, with measures including energy subsidy payments, reduced energy rate costs, and windfall taxes on soaring energy company profits.

In Australia, inflation has hit 5.1% in April; and in the UK it looks likely to achieve the worst kind of double-digit growth sometime soon. Contrast any of these with the civil unrest being seen in countries like Brazil and Sri Lanka as prices for staple products reach unaffordable levels.

Work longer hours or for a higher rate

UK government ministers have been much criticised over their sometimes weak, insensitive and impractical responses when asked about the action they intend to take to help the country ride out the cost of living crisis. Diverting such questions to talking about a ‘high skills, higher wage economy’ that seems to be a particularly prime ministerial aspiration, is one such example.

One minister suggested that workers could work more hours or get better paid jobs. These ideas are fine as far as theory goes, however, for many, they remain wishful thinking, especially the latter. Simply packing in a job for a higher paid one, just like that, is not a particularly realistic proposition.

However, taking a longer-term view, it is perfectly achievable. And given that we have been warned that high energy prices are expected to endure for at least four years, a long-term strategy of workers moving into higher value, better paid work makes total sense.

Agency opportunities to take the lead

Of course, as individuals, many workers may be pursuing their own ambitions for careers in better paid jobs. But there is also an opportunity for agencies to show leadership and reap rewards from upskilling and reskilling their temporary workers.

Skills shortages have been apparent for some time now, particularly in highly skilled and technical disciplines such as technology and healthcare. However, the skills gap is not about software boffins and brain surgeons. A strong driver for workers to upskill or retrain into better paid roles was already well established across the depth and breadth of the employment market. The cost of living crisis simply feeds into this, creating an even stronger impetus.

For agencies, it is well worth doing some initial work to understand the potential of upskilling and reskilling agency supplied workers and teams.

Think about:

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