Almost half of the increase in employment levels over the past few years has been in temporary roles, according to the TUC

Research by the TUC suggests that almost half of the increase in employment in recent years can be attributed to temporary work.

The number of Britons in temporary employment went up by 89,000 to 1.6 million in the two years to the end of 2012. The figure has risen by 230,000 since 2005. Permanent roles fell by 8,000 in that time.

More and more people are turning to temporary jobs as they are not able to find permanent work, with more than twice as many, 655,000, having to do so in 2012 compared with 2005.

The TUC said it could no longer be believed that employees are content with temporary or fixed-term work because it is flexible.

It described the nation's workforce as increasingly "insecure and vulnerable", particularly when increases in zero hours contracts and casual temporary work are considered.

The union organisation's general secretary Frances O'Grady said millions of Brits have had to take shorter hours, temporary jobs and zero hours contracts just to keep their heads above water during the recession. He added that while poor pay and no career prospects is better than being on the dole, these jobs will not improve living standards or result in a significant recovery for most people.

"The fact that casualised labour continues to grow even during this 'so-called' recovery suggests that the labour market is far more fragile than headline figures suggest," said Mr O'Grady.

"Ministers need to acknowledge the problems of under-employment and insecure work, as it is eroding people's living standards. Cutting basic rights at work and making it easier for bad bosses to mistreat staff will only make things worse."

The report was made public just days before the latest official unemployment figures are published on Wednesday.

Copyright Press Association 2013