When you hear the words contingent, contracted, temporary or seasonal, what do you think of? Traditionally, the contingent workforce has been associated with the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder. They’re the people who can’t find real jobs. Well, the contingent workforce is growing in numbers, and taking over every rung of that ladder from the bottom to the top.
The contingent workforce has a new face. They are now the sought-after candidates with experience and flexibility; instead of the plan B hires they were not so long ago. Let’s take a look at this new and rapidly expanding workforce segment…
Life Is Sweet For Contractors
You might be as surprised as I was to find out what a Randstad study revealed. We’re no longer dealing with temp secretaries or paper pushers; the new contingent worker has his or her sights set much higher. Randstad’s research indicates that about 1/3 of temporary workers are currently holding supervisory or managerial positions. The research also revealed that 40% of companies reported finding their top talent through the contingent labor force.
Now that employers are starting to embrace flexibility and find smarter ways to hire and manage the contingent workforce, the sky is the limit for this segment. There is no longer a stigma attached to granting responsibility to contingent workers. Employers have traditionally been reluctant to hand over any measure of power to someone who may or may not be there in the future, but they are now finding that the contingent worker’s patchwork career of skills and experiences make them perfect candidates for even high-level, power-wielding positions.
Contingent workers are no longer the tactical, last-resort hires, but rather strategic additions to teams. That may be why 60% of enterprises plan to increase freelance hiring in 2014, as revealed by Tower Lane Consulting.
Employment Is For The Birds
The same survey revealed that 53 million Americans, or 34% of the population, qualify as freelancers. This swift rise in freelancers is the result of many factors:
“The rise of Uber, Lyft, Task Rabbit, Elance and other online labor marketplaces, combined with employers’ desire to lower payroll and insurance costs, has driven up the number of people cobbling together a living from freelancing.” – Susan Adams, Career Specialist
Beyond the environmental factors contributing to the rise of the contingent workforce, these workers have their own intrinsic motivators for changing the way we work. They love the balance, independence, diversity and flexibility of their career path. Here’s the breakdown from the Randstad Workforce 360 Study:
● 78% of contingent workers describe their experience as positive.
● These workers also express higher career satisfaction in several areas compared to their full-time counterparts.
● 31% of contingent workers enjoy perks like flexibility of schedule.
● 28% of contingent workers cite better compensation as a contributing factor to their job satisfaction.
● 21% of contingent workers value their career ownership.
Since the recession, employers have struggled to find a way to attract great talent while maintaining a balance between agility and budget. The contingent workforce went from being the backup plan to the ideal solution to the problem every employer was and is facing.
Human capital will always present the largest cost to organizations, making the contingent workforce all the more attractive. Employers can find the talent they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it, with little to no training. The reality now is that temporary workers are no longer a temporary workforce strategy; ironically enough, the contingent workforce is here to stay.
The lean and agile workforce that every CEO needs and wants will largely be comprised of these contingent workers. Today the contingent workforce is growing by 8.3% yearly, and that growth rate is only expected to increase. The real issue now falls on those employers who don’t have the capacity to attract and manage this workforce segment. Without the right tools, talent management of the contingent workforce can be disjointed and ineffective; rendering the positive benefits of hiring contingent workers a draw in vital resources.
Are you ready for rise of the new contingent worker?
About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and Co-Founder of Recruiterbox.com, web-based recruitment software that helps growing companies manage their incoming job applications.