Do Temporary Agency Workers Affect Workplace Performance?

| Publication date: 11 Apr 2012 | Theme: Trade, Investment & Productivity, Employment & Social policy | NIESR Author(s): Bryson, A | JEL Classification: J50, L22, L23, L24 | NIESR Discussion Paper Number: 392

Using nationally representative workplace data we find the use of temporary agency workers (TAW) is positively associated with financial performance in the British private sector and weakly associated with higher sales per employee. However TAW is not associated with value added per employee. Employees in workplaces with TAW receive higher wages than observationally equivalent employees in non-TAW workplaces. But the presence of TAW in the employee's occupation is associated with lower wages for employees in that occupation. Furthermore, conditioning on wages, the presence of TAW at the workplace is associated with lower job satisfaction and higher job anxiety among employees. These findings are consistent with TAW having an adverse effect on employees' experiences at work, perhaps due a more labour intensive regime, one which is only partly compensated for with higher wages.

Keyword tags: 
temporary agency workers
labour productivity
financial performance
Publication type: