What is agency/labour hire work ?

The agency/labour hire workforce is 360,000 Australians who are employed by job/labour hire agencies but assigned to work at another business.

Agency/labour hire workers are professionals, tradespeople, skilled and semi-skilled workers. They are young, old and middle-aged and they work in every occupation type.

In Australia, the professional, scientific and technical service sectors, along with the banking and finance industry, are the biggest users of agency/labour hire workforce. The construction and healthcare sectors are the next largest users.

Agency/labour hire workers earn more than $20 billion in wages and provide a vital support to business and the economy, enhancing flexibility and productivity by providing specialist skills as and when they are needed.

Agency work offers flexibility for hundreds of thousands of workers, making it possible for them to better combine work with study, family, travel or semi-retirement.

28.7b

Revenue

358,800

People employed

20b

Wages paid

8400

No. of businesses

1.25%

Share of GDP

Which Australian industries use an agency workforce?

Benefits of Job Agencies

For
workers

Agency work provides the freedom and flexibility to work where you want and when you want. People choose agency work for the opportunity and flexibility it provides them and their lifestyle.

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We asked agency workers why they love working the way they do. Here are just some of the reasons they gave:

  • Agency work lets me choose when and where I work. I’m in control.
  • Agency work pays me for every hour I work.
  • Agency work is diverse and varied.
  • Agency work allows me to travel.
  • Agency work allows me to work in different workplaces.
  • Agency work presents new and different opportunities.
  • Agency work allows me to try out different jobs before committing to one.
  • Agency work keeps me connected to the workforce as a mature worker.
  • Agency work allows me to balance work with life.
  • Agency work allows me to care for my kids and work when I am available.
  • Agency work helped me transition careers.
  • Agency work allows me to be certain I am getting paid my legal entitlements.
  • Agency work gives me freedom.

For
business

Finding and managing workers is complex. Job Agencies provide business and government with access to the right people quickly and simply, at the time they need them.

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We asked businesses what they like best about the support they get from agency workers. Here are just some of the reasons they gave:

  • Staffing agencies make the employment process simpler.
  • Staffing agencies provide the people when I need them. They know where to get them.
  • Staffing agencies handle the compliance side of employment. We partner with them to ensure workers are looked after but they manage the process.
  • Staffing agencies allow me to chase growth without the risk of permanent employment should an opportunity fail. It allows me to have a go at new opportunities and then employ permanently if we are successful.
  • Staffing agencies are great at looking after their people, and that works for me
  • Staffing agencies provide me with both people and perspective. It’s great to have another partner to share the load.

Job agencies/labour hire will contribute to economic recovery

Supporting business recovery

In uncertain economic times, including the early stages of economic recovery, drawing upon job agencies/labour hire can enable employers to quickly flex up and flex down to respond to fluctuations in demand and output requirements.

This means that businesses can expand incrementally as conditions improve, and more quickly, than they could without access to this pool of labour.

In an economic recovery, this is particularly important as it enables businesses to concentrate on increasing output to respond to increasing demand in the market without needing to wait for permanent hires to come on board. Access to job agencies/labour hire is likely to enable those businesses to recover more quickly than others in the economy and to further stimulate the economy.

Getting people back to work

Job agencies/labour hire provides employment opportunities for professionals, skilled and semi-skilled workers who have been displaced due to the economic downturn, even on a short- term basis.

It provides a transition pathway from unemployment to on-hire work and on to permanent employment in a recovering economy, and as well as a transition to employment for young people seeking to develop their experience in the jobs market or transition from studies.

Importantly, job agencies/labour hire provides employees with all the protections that are inherent within workplace laws such as Fair Work, Modern Awards, work health and safety, workers’ compensation, long service leave and anti-discrimination.

These protections are not provided to other gig-economy workers matched to work on freelance platforms.