As the employment rates continue to move at a glacial pace, there is one area that has shown growth – temporary, contingent and independent workers. Between 2009 and 2012, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of temporary employees rose by 29%.
A survey of the 200 largest companies found that temporary workers represented, on average, 22% of their workforce, and that percentage is growing. According to a recent study by the software company Intuit, more than 40 percent of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be freelancers, contractors and temp workers by the year 2020.
The reasons why workers from a variety of industries are discovering that they’re able to make a livable wage outside of the traditional corporate structure is not difficult to understand.
The economic debacle that began in 2008 initiated a change in how many people viewed the world of work. Mass layoffs, downsizing, companies closing their doors while CEOs were still making record profits may have left workers feeling less inclined to believe that their employers could be trusted to take care of them in the long run. While there are many people who have simply left the workforce because they are unable to find gainful employment, there are many that decided to take more control over their ability to earn money and make a livable wage.
What is a Temporary Worker
Before going any further, let’s make sure we understand the definition of a temporary worker.
Temporary workers are typically retained through a placement agency or personnel firm. A temp worker is brought on for a short “assignment” that can range from a few days to a few months. Not all temporary workers even need to work onsite. With the widespread adoption of mobile technologies and the availability of the Internet, many temporary workers can work remotely and perform all aspects of the job without difficulty.
Because you retain temporary workers through an agency, you deal with the agency and they in turn will handle all administrative and compensation details associated with these individuals.
Why Might You Consider Using a Temporary Worker
No longer are temporary workers used to fill lower level administrative positions. Quite the contrary, there are now specialized agencies that can help you fill positions for attorneys, accountants, healthcare workers and more. The IT and Healthcare field in particular has been a boon to individuals that want more flexibility in their lives as the demand continues to increase for those with solid credentials and skills.
Don't confine yourself to only think about using a temp worker to answer phones or do simple word processing. There is a deep and talented pool of individuals who can help you with a myriad of functions and who can fill in for staff that are taking extended family leave, are out due to illness or injury, or if a deadline has been moved up and you need more hands on deck.
The Benefits of Using Temporary Staff
The most obvious reason for hiring temporary staff is for the flexibility it provides. They can be hired at a moment's notice and you can end the engagement without having to worry about unlawful terminations. Other benefits include:
- Avoid having your permanent staff burned out from too much work with too little assistance.
- Finding specialized talent to fit a specific short term need.
- No obligation to pay for benefits or oversee compensation payments.
- You may find a temp worker that would be a great addition to your staff and can work with the agency to bring them on as a full time employee.
Today, the opportunities for contingent, project-based work are exploding, as is the development of tools that allow people to work independently across industries. The workplace as we know it is changing and smart companies will recognize that there is a talent pool that can be accessed only through a temporary work arrangement. It may be beneficial to learn to take advantage of the change.
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