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Picture of The Impact of the UK Temporary Employment Industry in Assisting Agency Workers since the Year 2000

The Impact of the UK Temporary Employment Industry in Assisting Agency Workers since the Year 2000

Author(s): Simon Toms

Book Description

Temporary agency work has been a central topic of employment discourse in recent years, and the flexible working arrangements it can provide individuals and organisations has served to increase this attention in the current economic climate. Temporary employment agencies can provide organisations with fast access to potential staff and individuals with a variety of flexible working opportunities. However, negative worker experiences and the lack of contractual protection have been a source of criticism that resulted in the EU’s adoption of the Agency Workers Directive towards the end of 2011.

This study is concerned with assessing the impact of the UK temporary employment industry in assisting agency workers since the year 2000, and incorporates four research questions: (1) To what extent have temporary employment agencies provided employment opportunities to vulnerable groups since the year 2000? (2) How are individuals psychologically affected by working as temporary agency workers, and what are the implications? (3) Individual agency workers often interact with several different groups including temporary employment agencies, third party employers, permanent workers and trade unions. Are there tensions that exist between these groups, and how do they manifest themselves? (4) Recent legislative development has occurred with the adoption of the Agency Workers Directive. What are the implications for individual agency workers and temporary employment agencies?

The study incorporates semi-structured interviews with agency workers and their permanent colleagues, as well as recruitment consultants and their clients. Additional data from participants’ follow-up interviews and analysis of researcher diary extracts serve to build a picture of the temporary employment industry at an individual and organisational level. The findings of the study include the influence that motive can have upon how agency workers view their ensuing employment, the negative psychological impact that reduced contractual obligation can have upon the individual, and the detrimental outcomes that can result from the short-term and cyclical nature of agency employment. Further findings are also discussed, and the text concludes by outlining the study’s contribution to knowledge.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3747-7
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3747-4
Date of Publication: 01/05/2012
Pages / Size: 310 / A5
Price: £44.99


Dr Simon Toms was born in Cambridge and raised in his home village of Newport in Essex, where he currently resides. His interest in the discipline of Psychology began when he studied the subject at Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, and continued throughout the eight years he spent at the University of Gloucestershire. During this time, Simon completed an Undergraduate degree in Psychology, a Masters degree in Occupational Psychology, and the PhD thesis upon which this book is based.