Contract Staffing Breaks Two New Records

By DEBBIE FLEDDERJOHANN, President of Top Echelon Contracting

There seems to be no end in sight to the growth of contract staffing as employers build their businesses around blended workforce models.

Contract staffing broke two new records in February, exceeding 2,000,000 jobs for the first time and achieving record market share, according to Bingham Consulting Professionals’ Monthly Employment Review for February.

“Temporary help services” added 24,000 jobs to reach an all-time high of 2,800,300, which was an 8.9% increase over February 2013.  February’s market share was 2.0336, edging out the previous record market share of 2.0288 established in April of 2000.

These numbers clearly illustrate that the increase in contract staffing since the recession is not a short-term trend.  Contractors are now a part of a companies’ long-term business strategies as they build blended workforce models around them.

Ever-increasing employment regulations (most notably Obamacare) and political instability are two major reasons for this trend.  We’re finding that, rather than assuming a new position will be filled by a direct hire, employers are now looking strategically at each open position to determine if a contractor might be a better fit, especially for:

  1. Hiring freezes—Contractors can still be brought in because they are paid out of a different budget than direct hires.
  2. Special projects—It makes more sense to utilize a contractor for many projects, especially if the additional staff and special skills required won’t be needed when the project is complete.
  3. Hiring indecision—If a company is having trouble finding the right fit for a position, they can try someone on a contract-to-direct basis before extending a direct-hire offer, or they can utilize a contractor in the interim while continuing to look for a direct hire.
  4. Sudden surges in business—It makes sense to use a contractor in these situations because contractors can be brought on quickly, and if the surge is temporary, companies can also reduce staff quickly. . . without the ugly layoffs that often accompany a reduction in force.

There are many other uses for contractors, but the bottom line is that companies want and need contractors.  If you want to be seen as a true staffing partner, you will want to be sure that you’re offering contract staffing services and are able to meet ALL of their staffing needs.

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