Recruitment Agencies


Further Information

One way to take some of the hard slog out of looking for work is to get someone else to do it for you! Many vacancies at all levels never make it to the newspapers or jobsites because employers prefer to use recruitment agencies to find the right candidate. Getting your name on the books of a decent agency could land you the job you’re looking for, and it won’t cost you a penny.

A good place to start looking for agencies is the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, which represents recruitment agencies across the UK. The REC website provides a listing of reputable recruitment agencies that can be filtered by region, sector and other search criteria. 

Temporary agency workers

Working for an employment agency is different to using one to find permanent or fixed-term employment. Some agency workers are ‘temporary agency workers’ (sometimes called ‘temps’), engaged by an employment agency and sent to perform fixed term assignments at the premises of a different business (the ‘hirer’). Other agency workers are permanent employees of the employment agency, directly employed by the agency and sent to work for different businesses. 

Agency workers do not enjoy the same statutory rights as employees, and often work under less favourable pay, holiday and working time conditions than others. If you are an agency worker, make sure you know your rights by visiting workSMART’s Agency Workers section. 

Everyone at work has some basic rights. Thanks to union campaigning, many agency workers have gained the right to receive the same treatment as permanent staff carrying out the same work since October 2011. The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR)  are designed to tackle discrimination against agency workers in the workplace. 

There’s more information and advice for agency workers on the GOV.UK and Citizens Advice websites. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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