Private employment agencies, temporary agency workers and their contribution to the labour market. WPEAC/2009

Private employment agencies play an important role in the functioning of contemporary labour markets. They act as intermediaries in modern labour markets, allowing enterprises greater flexibility to increase or decrease their workforces, while ensuring for the workers sufficient security in terms of job opportunities and employment standards, including pay, working time and training.

The private employment agency industry has grown at an incredible pace over the past three decades due to the increasing need to provide workers and services to a growing and flexible labour market. User enterprises hire temporary agency workers to be able to rapidly adjust to the shifting economic realities. Since mid-2008, enterprises have used this pressure-valve function to lay off temporary workers, while often leaving their core workforce intact.