U.S. employers are hiring temporary and part-time staff in record numbers, and the trend is expected to continue.
In “Prepare for the New Permanent Temp” Harvard Business Review reported that temporary and part time jobs were the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. job market, with part-time employees at a record high of 28 million, and temporary employment up 50 percent since “the depths of the financial crisis.”
In March, CareerBuilder’s annual survey determined that 40 percent of surveyed employers planned on hiring temporary employees. A recent online survey of 2,000 hiring managers found that temporary work accounted for 15 percent of all U.S. job growth over the last four years, even though the industry makes up roughly 2 percent of the U.S. workforce. In larger markets, the share of job growth since 2009 is much higher – more than 40 percent of new jobs in cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee can be attributed to temporary work. One of every four participating employers plans on adding temporary employees in the next six months.
“During the recession the financial cuts were so deep and so massive that companies built into their future strategy a way to better handle fluctuating demands,” Anne Edmunds, Manpower RVP for the Chicago and Minneapolis markets, told the AIM Group. “Now temporary employees enable them to stay flexible.”
Along with its employment-agency services Manpower Group offers an Online University through itsTraining and Development Center, where candidates can hone various skills. To long-time Microsoft Office and clerical classes, Manpower has now added Six Sigma, customer service / call center and sales training, in response to new interest from industry employers.
Although the increase in hiring of temporary employees is often seen as a negative trend for job seekers, Edmunds said there are plusses for candidates too.
“A temp firm is a job agent for people who ultimately want a full time position,” she said. “It’s a first step, a foot in the door. Nearly 40 percent of Manpower associates are hired permanently by our clients.”
In addition to its own site, Manpower uses a variety of online methods to advertise its clients’ temporary openings, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. While Edmunds also posts to CareerBuilder, Monster and Craigslist, she said the major recruitment sites are not getting the job done for Manpower.
“The major job boards are extremely saturated so we have to do a lot of social networking and community work, too,” she said. “On CareerBuilder and Monster the candidate can check the Temp-only box in their job search, but none of the job sites offer any real breakout of temporary jobs.”
Net-Temps, a service that works exclusively with the staffing industry, oversees placement for about 50,000 jobs on any given day. Net-Temps is heavily focused on IT, an industry in which the move to temporary jobs has been instigated by candidate demand.
”A lot of the IT jobs had been direct placement and are being knocked to temporary, or employers are reposting a job as either permanent or temporary because they need people,” Net-Temps founder Greg Booth told the AIM Group. “Job-seekers tell us that often the same job a company advertised previously as direct placement is now a temporary job but at even higher pay. These young candidates are looking for immediate pay, not long term benefits.”
IT staffing is especially difficult, as most candidates are already working. Therefore, the way a recruiter looks at each candidate is unusual.
“If I’m looking to hire a sales rep and a candidate has had three jobs in the last four years, that’s kind of suspect,” said Booth. “But in IT you’ll find that everyone has had that many – and usually get a $10,000 raise with each move.”
On-demand temporary staffing agency Labor Smart just broke its weekly sales record, and is expanding into new areas as a result of the growing interest in temporary labor. Now in nine states and 14 markets, Labor Smart generates more than $300,000 revenue each week, as it expands its job categories as well as its locations.
“The collective employer mindset is that hiring temps is safer and more predictable in terms of liability and compensation, at least for the moment, ” Labor Smart CEO Ryan Schadel told the AIM Group. “There are some industries such as roofing, medical and hazardous materials services that we won’t serve because of Workers’ Compensation issues, but aside from that we can provide personnel for any organization.”
Labor Smart’s highest-volume categories are construction and event services, though retailers and traditionally-permanent-hire firms have started turning to Labor Smart for temporary employees.
CareerBuilder is Labor Smart’s first-choice recruitment site, though it relies primarily on local networking – trade associations, Labor Dept. offices and so forth.
“After we’re in a market 90 to 120 days word of mouth usually helps tremendously,” Schadel said.
Recruitment publishers have failed to take adequate note of the huge surge in temporary hires. As a result, employers who want to hire temps are not able to showcase their choices online, and turn increasingly to agencies and local organizations for referrals and word-of-mouth help. Recruitment sites should be showcasing temporary jobs through prominent categories and niche sites or pages, offering marketing opportunities for temporary agencies and employers, and content that highlights the trend, the pros and cons, as well as the resources.
Originally posted on www.aimgroup.com.