Sunday, August 14

Avalanche of hiring through Temporary Employment Agencies to cover casualties due to Covid


Temporary Employment Agencies (ETT) are emerging as a lifeline in a scenario of avalanche of sick leave caused by the sixth wave of the pandemic. Companies in the service, logistics or industrial sectors cannot find substitutes to fill different positions due to the outbreak of infections by Omicron and turn to these companies to find workers quickly. Although there are still no official figures for Covid casualties for the first days of January, experts predict that they will continue to increase exponentially. From Adecco, a Human Resources management company, they point out a rise of 15% during January in the hiring of workers for substitutions derived from absences due to temporary disability for

the Omicron variant.

The explosion of infections triggered the number of sick leave by more than 240,000 processes until last December 23, a figure that represented an advance of more than 200% compared to the month of November, when 75,800 procedures were registered. However, from Adecco they remember that the Social Security figures were surpassed by those provided to that date by the Work Accident Mutuals, where more than 576,000 workers were recorded on sick leave due to coronavirus, that is, more than double that the figure reported by the department headed by José Luis Escrivá. By type of company, it is the medium and large companies that are leading this increase in substitution contract headings. The cancellation processes initiated in December were shortened and lasted an average of 9.96 days, while those in November lasted 12.6 days. In other words, the duration of these processes has been progressively decreasing due to the milder symptoms produced by the new variant of Covid.

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In this regard, Antonio López, director of On Site Solutions at Adecco, highlights that the pressure due to casualties linked to the virus is becoming more and more noticeable in the business environment. “If in January 2021 more than 630,000 people completed a withdrawal process linked to Covid, we fear that in January 2022 those figures will be exceeded,” he says. The most affected sectors are those with traditional peaks of activity at the beginning of the year, such as those related to large stores and trade in the transport campaign, as well as areas linked to logistics or transport. “Too the food and automotive industry are experiencing this increase in casualties with considerable suffering that is being produced linked to Ómicron”, emphasizes López.

The truth is that in sectors such as logistics they urgently need to find new employees to cover the needs and avoid a stoppage in essential sectors for the operation of the delivery and distribution chain. Francisco Aranda, president of UNO Logística, explains that companies in this area are resorting both to their own employee pools that their Human Resources departments have and to ETTs. At the same time, Aranda demands from the Government the immediate application of a centralized mechanism that helps speed up the registration process. “It is being a tremendously complicated moment because there are workers who have already passed their quarantine and have not yet been officially discharged. Discharges should be automated if the worker does not have symptoms and this mechanism should be generalized to all communities. We hope that the decision is made as soon as possible because we are going through a daily ordeal, “adds Aranda.

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On the Infojobs employment platform they explain that the publication of offers by selection companies and ETT soared last month by 71.3% in relation to the figure for December 2020. «Although it is true that the final stretch of the year has been driven by a better Christmas campaign and sales, it is true that part of that rise may be due to the need to cover the cancellations by Ómicron”, indicates Mónica Pérez, director of Communication and Studies of InfoJobs. For his part, Javier Ranedo, National Manager Interim Division of Hays, points out that in many companies in which the workforce has higher qualifications, “for so few days, they decide to wait for the person to return from their sick leave after a week. » and points out that «for accounting, engineering, commercial or managerial positions» there has been no increase in demand for transfers due to contagion.

Industrial business

In the Basque Country, one of the places with the highest cumulative incidence of this sixth wave, and where, according to data from the Basque employers’ association, Confebask, there is an absenteeism rate much higher than the average for Spain, job losses have practically overwhelmed consultants and placement agencies. This has been the experience, at least, of Ibón Olazabal, general director of Walt, a personnel selection consultancy for the Evolus group, and of ETT Jobbe, which carries out a large part of its work in the economic market of the Basque Country.

“I didn’t expect it,” he confesses, still surprised by an avalanche of requests that came “suddenly.” The madness began a few days before Christmas Eve. From that week on, his phone began to ring non-stop, at practically any hour, with increasingly urgent requests. “They called you and told you: I need two people as soon as possible,” he describes. Hundreds of requests in which personnel were constantly required to be able to replace workers who were positive for coronavirus or who were in quarantine, and which have exceeded all the forecasts they had made for the festive weeks.

During Christmas, these calls mainly came from shops, hotels or logistics companies. But with the return to routine, the trend has changed and now they are, above all, industrial companies that have problems replacing low-income workers. Only among the contracts drawn up through temporary employment agencies, Olazabal calculates that of some 300 people who had to return after the Christmas holidays, some 80 were unable to do so due to Covid.

In the industrial sector, it is also more difficult to fill vacancies, especially when it comes to replacing qualified workers. According to Olazabal, Many companies are choosing to relocate staff members and cover the gap that is generated after these relocations with contracts through ETT. The nature of the requests that come to them has also changed. Until now, the usual thing was that the Basque industry resorted to them to dispose of large orders or work peaks. But now the need for staff is high and constant. This Basque ETT has even been used by companies that had never required its services before.


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