Why now is the time to plan for staff shortages over the Christmas period

By Australasian Recruitment Company – November 29, 2021

Why now is the time to plan for staff shortages over the Christmas period

The run-up to Christmas and peak trading period can be a hectic time for businesses, with project deadlines all hitting at once, increased orders coming in and trying to keep productivity high to hit end-of-quarter and end-of-year targets. Staffing shortages abound and businesses struggle to manage peak workloads and initiatives with existing headcount.

A recent report released by accountancy and advisory firm BDO has warned that staff shortages are now rippling out from the haulage, farming and hospitality sectors to almost all parts of the economy.

Combine this with the usual shortages caused by staff holidays and seasonal colds and flu, multiply it by Covid and a period of rapid economic growth, and it’s the perfect storm for Christmas being hampered by a deeper staffing shortage than businesses are able to account for. This year more than ever, it’s crucial to start planning ahead to avoid staff shortages and the accompanying challenges.

Staffing shortages abound across industry and profession

Data from the Office for National Statistics has shown the overall number of vacancies has risen to just over one million: the first-time figures have reached this milestone since records started in 2001. It is expected that a combination of Covid absences and isolation, plus the shortage of workers in the UK due to Brexit, will hit businesses particularly hard this winter unless they start preparing to recruit temporary workers now.

Around two thirds of respondents in the BDO survey said they expect to be hiring staff at a higher rate than usual this year, and were already struggling with absences, reporting that on average about six per cent of staff were currently in isolation due to ongoing Covid risks.

What is a temp contract?

There are many definitions of seasonal and temp workers, ranging from people working on farms at harvest season, to retail jobs over the holiday period. However, seasonal workers can also apply to business support functions: hired on a temporary basis as a means to provide holiday cover or tasks that are specific to seasonal spikes in business demand.

Seasonal employment temping is useful to a business when hiring people to work for a specific period of time. A variety of jobs fall under this type of contract, including any type of employment in which you are employed for a set period of time.

What are the benefits of hiring temporary employees?

There are many advantages to hiring temporary employees for busy periods. If you know that you are likely to have increased but short-lived demand during peak trading periods, it is useful to bake in budget for seasonal staff. This can usually be offset by the increase in productivity.

Here are five ways that temp workers can benefit your business this Christmas:

  • Temp workers can help you to maintain high standards of customer service by giving you additional hands on deck when it’s busy, but without leaving you overstaffed when workflows go back to normal
  • They provide you with a buffer against unplanned staff leave due to sickness and holidays
  • As temps are paid on a weekly basis, you have the flexibility to be responsive to changing workloads by extending or shortening contracts at short notice
  • Minimal administrative effort: at Australasian we manage the end-to-end process including pay, contracts, sickness and lateness, vetting and reference checks, disputes and early termination of contract
  • There’s a high chance you will benefit from over-qualified candidates who may be looking for temporary work to bridge the gap at the end of a visa period, taking a break between perm jobs or working around further study.

How to pay temporary seasonal employees

The beauty of hiring temp workers is how light-touch the admin is for managers. Temp workers are added to the agency’s payroll not the business’, meaning his or her line manager just needs to approve a digital timesheet. Temp workers are typically paid weekly – an attractive benefit to temps in itself – avoiding potential frustration from being on a monthly payroll if they are only hired for a week or two.

How Australasian Recruitment Company can help

At Australasian Recruitment Company we’ve been matching great temporary business support staff with our clients for 18 years, and can typically source a temp within 24-48 hours. We’re poised to match you with the right people for your peak seasonal staffing needs so call us for a chat on 020 7625 3300 or drop us an email: hello@australasian.co.uk

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