Work available on a temporary basis in Portugal, by the numbers


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Recent publications of the findings of numerous research have contributed to the creation of a radiograph depicting the nature of temporary labor in Portugal. One of the findings that jumps out at you is the fact that more than fifty percent of the existing businesses in this sector have just been around for the last five years.

According to the Insight View provided by Iberinform, 56% of the organizations providing temporary labor have been established during the last five years, while 27% of them have between 6 and 15 years of experience. Twelve percent of the firms were established between 16 and 25 years ago, while six percent of the enterprises are older than 25 years. Companies that are older than 25 years take the lead in terms of turnover, accounting for a total of 43% of the industry’s total. This is followed by companies that are between 16 and 25 years old (25%), companies that are between 6 and 10 years old (17%), 11 to 15 years old, and companies that are both 2 to 5 years old (8%).

Companies that have been in business for less than a year have a representativeness that is very low, with a score that is very near to 0%. According to the statistics provided by Iberinform, just 15% of the enterprises present a maximum or high risk of failing to comply with regulations. In comparison, just 28% of the organizations that provide temporary work offer a minimal risk of not complying with the regulations.

In terms of revenue, this industry has seen fairly good development over the last several years; nonetheless, it was severely impacted by the pandemic that occurred in the year 2020.

However, temporary employment firms recorded a 21% gain in turnover, marking a rebound to statistics extremely similar to those in 2019 (-2.4%), with exports accounting for 45% of the total. This recovery brought the results very close to those in 2019.

According to the statistics provided by Insight View, there is an immense dispersion of enterprises that provide temporary labor; nonetheless, their concentration is stronger among the major metropolitan areas, namely Lisbon (35%), Porto (15%), Braga (10%), Setbal (8%), and Santarém (5%).

The credit risk in Porto has worsened the most compared to the other four major districts in the industry; now, 23% of the firms operating in the industry are either at the highest possible degree of default or at the maximum level. After this comes Santarém with 20%, Setbal with 17%, Braga with 13%, and Lisbon with 10% of the market share.

Regarding the sizes of the businesses, this industry is virtually completely made up of micro and small businesses, which account for around 90 percent of all of the businesses in this sector. The remaining percentage is made up of businesses that fall into the medium-sized (8%) and large-sized (2%) categories.

Despite this, micro-businesses only account for 1% of the overall turnover that occurs in the economy. The entire amount that temporary labor firms are billed is comprised of 24% by the smaller companies and 33% by the larger organizations. Large corporations account for just 2% of all businesses, yet they generate 42% of all revenue. This puts them in the lead.

In terms of the development of cash flow, during the most recent fiscal year, the average payment terms extended to vendors stayed the same at 84 days; on the other hand, the average payment terms extended to customers fell from 88 days to 78 days. According to these numbers, temporary job organizations are now in a position to be able to finance themselves with the money that is provided by their customers since they obtain this money before paying their suppliers.

According to information obtained from the Temporary Work Barometers for the third quarter of 2022, which were carried out by APESPE-RH (Portuguese Association of Companies in the Private Employment and Human Resources Sector) and ISCTE (University Institute of Lisbon), in regard to the characterization of temporary workers, between 26% and 27% of those placed had an average age of more than 40 years. The proportion of people who were placed between the ages of 25 and 29 also made a substantial contribution (approximately 20%). In terms of education, the most common level of schooling among those who were placed is still basic education, which accounts for 64% of all placements. The percentage of placements in secondary schools rose to 29% in September, moving them into second position; the percentage of placements held by persons with degrees remained almost the same at 6%.

According to the findings of yet another research that Informa D&B carried out on behalf of the industry in 2023, both the number of employees and the turnover of temporary labor would continue to increase, although at a slower pace compared to that of recent years and in accordance with the less favorable macroeconomic expectations.


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