U.S. companies bullish on a contingent workforce

For employees, it can mean less security, but more freedom.

For employers, it means having more financial  flexibility, if and when conditions change.

Contingency staffing _ temporary or contract workers _ is growing, a new study has found. And with the economy stuck in neutral, at best, it may become an even bigger factor in the creation of a workforce.

Two out of three companies use contingent workers now, according to the Randstad Workforce360 Study, for which 225 human resource managers and 2,035 employed adults were interviewed.

And 71 percent of organizations cited the flexibility that contingent staffing gives them as a help during economic ups and downs.

That has them looking to do more contract hiring. One in five companies plans to increase its percentage of temporary or contract workers in the next year.

“The recession brought such significant operational and financial duress for U.S. companies that the business model of the future will rely heavily upon the ability to be insulated from economic downturns,” said Jim Link, of Randstad. “We live in a world now that rewards financial flexibility rather than fixed-cost business models, and agility, cost containment reign supreme.”

Link added that, “What used to be viewed as a temporary stop-gap measure, the utilization of a contingent workforce alongside full-time talent is no longer a contingency plan. We believe this integrated staffing model will be fundamental to operational and fiscal success for the foreseeable future.”

Workers, the study says, choose contract gigs for something more than the hope that it will lead to a full-time job.

– 31 percent liked the flexibility of their schedule.

– 28 percent said the money was better.

– 21 percent said it gave them more control of their career.

By and large, most contract workers  are pleased with their lots, the study found.

For example, 73 percent  rated their growth potential with their current employer as good or excellent.

Also, a higher percentage of temporary/contract employees reported high job satisfaction than did permanent workers.

7 comments Add your comment


September 12th, 2012
11:09 am

The money is much better than a salary if you can bill corp to corp (vs. a W-2). No health benefits, but you will make more than enough to pay for your own benefits and still have plenty of money left over.

“Permanent” jobs are highly overrated.


September 12th, 2012
11:18 am

Hiring temporary employees allows the corporations to pick what type of people they get. They call the temp. agencys and say I want a (name race) that is under _ _ years old, etc. Otherwords this is a big loophole for them to discriminate via third party and the temp. agencys are more than willing to accommodate.


September 12th, 2012
12:44 pm

Smokewagon, your post is on point. Staffing agencies have operated in this manner for decades and employment discrimination in this form will only become worse. And yes, the temp agencies are willing partners in the discriminatory acts. Some of the largest and best known agencies participate. Resumes can reveal so much about a person’s personal background. Depending upon where you have worked in the past, a resume can also trigger thoughts of what race you may be. Such as our world…..

The Man

September 13th, 2012
11:03 am

I can tell both of you are democrats.

Irvine Progressive

September 13th, 2012
5:19 pm

What a bunch of moronic comments! I have been contracting since graduating college in 1992 (that’s twenty years for you idiotic commentators) – sometimes the contract turns permanent but more often the contract ends and you move on. People are afraid to negotiate a high hourly rate but don’t realize that settling for less and less sets a dangerous precedent. Yes, corp-to-corp DOES pay more than a W-2 BUT: you have to line up your own business, you must pay your own payroll taxes, and you must structure your business contracts and submit regular invoices if you want to be paid on a regular weekly or bi-weekly basis. Comparing apples to oranges (or at least ‘pears’). Not for me thanks…I’ll pay the recruiting agencies their 30-45% for handling all the miscellaneous details leaving me free to concentrate on the work at hand. Now having said all this, my first job out of college was as a Technical recruiter in San Jose, CA and the agency (Axon) practiced blatant discrimination and in fact, if you happened to be an ex-felon then your application went in the trash before you got to your car! Every person that walked in the door was coded by their gender and ethnicity and if your code didn’t match what the employers’ requested, tough luck but you were not picked!!

Having dealt with hundreds of recruiters and dozens of agencies over the years, I would agree that the market has never been better. A couple tips:

Get some certifications if you do not have an advanced 4-year degree…employers want a specialized skills sets and any certified or accredited training you have is a plus.

List out only the last 10-15 years of employment and focus on accomplishments; the more focus and detail is better in terms such as “Performed this for that company leading to a XX% improvement in efficiency”; etc. There are dozens of lists with ‘action verbs’ that should begin EVERY sentence of your resume.

As a former fat man, I suggest you pick and choose whether you will post a picture online. For example, after losing 235 pounds, only then did I take a picture and use it for me Linkedin page. Weight discrimination is by far the most insidious and there is still a big double-standard between men and women regarding weight.

The Man

September 14th, 2012
12:26 pm

Hey Mr. Know It All Irvine, CA, Delta is ready when you are. You seem to have it all figured out.

Yet this article is not about how people are unable to find work. It’s about how employers are responding to the ebbs and flows of demand for the work performed by a given employee population.

But thanks for your irrelevant prescriptive career coaching advice. It means alot coming from someone who violated federal employment law and throws a company under the bus on an immortal internet comment section. Clearly you are very intelligent.

The Woman

September 14th, 2012
9:15 pm

I think temp. services are a bunch of junk. Just another way of sending this country down the toilet.