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Monday 16 September 2019

More women employed by agencies than men as overall numbers fall

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Anne-Marie Walsh

More than half of workers employed by agencies are women who work full-time and almost half have third-level degrees.

New figures show that women make up 52pc of the country's 50,400 agency staff, while 48pc are men.

In other words, 26,200 women work for agencies compared with 24,200 men.

This is in contrast with an even split of 50pc men and 50pc women who make up all employees in the State.

It is also a reversal of the balance of genders among this category of workers in 2017, when 51pc were men and 49pc were women.

Agency staff make up a small portion of the overall workforce of over two million people and their numbers fell by 11pc in the year to last March.

Employees classified as agency staff represented just 2.6pc of the total workforce in the first three months of this year, compared with slightly over 3pc last year.

There are 1.9 million employees who do not work for agencies. However, Irish Congress of Trade Unions social policy officer Ger Gibbons said that while the number of temporary agency workers fell by around 5,000 in the year to the first quarter of 2019, the number of them was still more than 40pc higher than pre-crisis levels.

He said there were around 35,000 agency workers in 2007.

"While temporary agency work may suit some workers, recent research by the Nevin Economic Research Institute pointed out that it may actually impede the transition to a regular job and that these workers were more likely to experience mental health issues than other workers," he said.

The Central Statistics Office figures also reveal that agency workers are most likely to work in agriculture, forestry, fishing, industry, construction and health.

Six out of 10 of them worked fewer than 40 hours a week - although this is lower than the portion who work fewer than 40 hours out of all employees.

A quarter of agency staff are non-Irish nationals, and just over two-fifths were between 15 and 34 years of age - up from just under 40pc last year.

Irish Independent

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