The Rise of Temporary Work and Flexible Jobs: The Opportunity It Provides for Staffing
It is hard to believe that we have now lived almost a full year in the pandemic. Since March, I’ve written articles on ways to adjust business strategy, how to adapt to changing times, how to use technology to stay successful, and more. When I wrote my first article related to the pandemic in March, I never thought that almost a year later the pandemic would still be as present as it is in our lives today.
However, what has changed in the last 10 months are the opportunities that the pandemic brought to the staffing industry. Much has changed since March and companies have adapted to this change. We have seen significant increases and decreases in demand from the industry. We have also seen a significant increase in working from home, among many other changes. Now, we are beginning to see some of the long-term effects that these industrial changes have brought to the workforce. The increase in temporary help and flexible jobs for the foreseeable future is among these changes.
Cause of the increase in temporary jobs
There are several reasons why experts predict that there will be an increase in contract jobs in the future. Overall, the staffing industry has seen temporary jobs pick up faster than direct hire jobs.
COVID-19 has added many jobs to the temporary workforce, such as temperature testers and contact tracers. There is currently a high demand for jobs that help launch the vaccine, which could be a great opportunity for staffing companies if you can get the trained staff you need.
In addition to the addition of COVID-19 jobs, the pandemic has led to an increase in demand for contract work in other areas. Some companies are still surfing and cautious about hiring full-time employees. Contract workers are a minor investment, which is best in times of uncertainty and as companies recover. The job can still be done without the added expense of benefit packages and other costs associated with a new full-time hire.
More workers have also turned to freelance work, as it helped generate income for jobs that were lost during the pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Upwork between June and July 2020, 36% of the American workforce had been self-employed in the previous 12 months. 12% began to be self-employed during the pandemic (54% out of necessity) and 75% in search of financial stability. Of those surveyed, 88% said they are likely to be self-employed in the future.
In general, workers are also looking for a flexible work environment. More people are interested in a variety of jobs and are looking to control their hours. According to a recent Monster poll, 92% of respondents said they think now is a good time to study a gig economy. 57% of those surveyed also said they would take a mid-term job and 52% said they would like a long-term contract with flexible hours.
All of these reasons are the cause of the increased demand for temporary help. Whether it’s because of the demand for COVID-19 jobs or the way the pandemic has caused the workforce and employers to change the way they are used to doing things. In the process, we have adapted to these changes and provided new opportunities for both workers and employers.
Cause of increased remote work
As we all know and have probably experienced at one point or another, there has been an increase in teleworking. Personally, I never worked remotely full time, until March rolled around. Now I have been working remotely for the last 10 months and it has really become the new normal. When I think back to the days when we all went to the office, it seems like so long ago. Workers and employers are starting to feel the same way, if they aren’t already. Remote working has become a new normal and is here to stay to some extent.
From an employer’s point of view, companies have found that working from home can work. They have seen employees still able to complete their tasks, and in some cases, they have seen an increase in productivity. Operating costs have probably also come down as they are spending less money with employees working remotely (no more coffee breaks, employee lunches, etc.). With this, employers will be thinking of incorporating more job opportunities into the home in the future and / or eliminate an office all together. According to a survey conducted by Verizon, 86% of global companies believe that the digital workplace will coexist with the physical workspace post-COVID-19 and 78% expect to increase remote work.
Employees have also gotten used to working from home and prefer to keep it in some form. This can include going to the office a few days a week or working remotely full time. In a survey conducted by PWC, more than half of employees (55%) want to work remotely three days a week or more.
However, remote work is not just for permanent employees. The staffing industry has seen an increase in remote work by temporary workers since the pandemic began and more temporary workers are expected to continue working remotely after the pandemic. Employers who are used to temporary workers being on site have learned that this does not necessarily have to be the case. Not all temporary jobs require the employee to work on-site and the pandemic has shown that. This opens up important opportunities for employers who hire temporary help.
Opportunities it provides for staffing
So what does increased temporary help and flexible jobs really mean for the staffing industry? Open the door to new horizons. Now is the time to start planning your strategy for both the short and long term. Statistics show that the workforce will make this change for the foreseeable future. By adapting to change now, staffing companies can stay ahead. So where can you start?
Discuss temporary opportunities with employers who normally hire full-time
The increase in temporary help is not just for companies that employ contract workers. It can be a new opportunity for companies that are normally looking to hire full time. If a client was open to the idea of contract work, it might be a good opportunity to discuss the raise and the benefits of it rather than hiring a full-time employee. Not only is it less expensive, as discussed above, but it opens the door to exploring more qualified candidates seeking contract work. Not all positions may be suitable for contract work, but it is certainly an avenue that can be explored if the client is open to it. To test the waters, you might even come up with a temporary hire plan. If the hired worker ends up working and wants to stay with the company, they can be hired full time.
Flexible jobs add another layer of opportunity
Since temporary jobs are no longer just for companies looking to hire, flexible jobs are no longer just for permanent placements. As statistics have shown, more workers are looking for the opportunity to work remotely. This provides a new opportunity for both contract and permanent placements. It enables staffing firms to broaden their search for qualified out-of-state candidates. It also offers the opportunity to find more qualified candidates based on your preference for working from home. There may be highly trained individuals who could be lost if they prefer not to work in a physical location.
The opportunity to offer more flexible jobs will ultimately help increase the pool of candidates. If a client would be open to remote work, now is a good time to discuss the greatest interest in it and the benefits as well. Not all jobs can be done from home, but think about the jobs that could be and the opportunity it provides to the client.
Take Advantage of Industries in Demand
There are several industries in demand now that will continue to be in demand and offer the opportunity to employ contract and / or remote workers. Below are just a few of these industries that could provide new opportunities for staffing companies.
As mentioned above, there has been an increase in COVID-19 related jobs. The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are booming and desperately in need of help to meet the demand for launching vaccines. This is a great opportunity to partner with these industries and help them hire workers.
The information technology industry also boomed in 2020 and will continue to spiral upward. These jobs have been more stable during the pandemic because they have not depended on having a physical location. Most IT jobs can be done online and offer an agile work environment at home. There has also been an increase in help desk / PC tech support jobs as more organizations are working from home. With the rise of IT jobs and the flexible work environment they provide, it is another great industry for staffing companies to explore.
Customer service representatives and call center agents have also seen an increase in demand in healthcare, IT, and online retail.. As more businesses move virtually, there is an increased need for software and application-related customer service help to help manage teams remotely. More people are also shopping online, so there is a greater demand for online retail customer service representatives. Customer service representatives can also offer the opportunity to work remotely.
Industry and manufacturing have also seen increases in demand.. Manufacturers producing essential goods have had to significantly increase staff since the beginning of the pandemic. If staffing companies have yet to vet essential product manufacturing companies, this could be an opportunity to employ outsourced workers. Manufacturers of non-essential goods are also beginning to increase production. Business orders for durable goods such as tools, appliances and new cars increased for eight months in a row. This shows that manufacturers are increasing their production of goods in anticipation of strong sales in 2021 and may need to hire more staff now or in the near future.
These are just a few of the industries in demand now and for the foreseeable future. By researching industries that are booming and expected to grow, staffing companies will set themselves up for future success. If they can incorporate contract and / or remote work in these industries, it will be beneficial to all.
Running with opportunity
The pandemic has certainly brought its challenges in the past year, but the silver lining is that it has brought new opportunities for the personnel industry to seize. Change can be scary, but now is the time to run with the opportunities that present themselves and prepare for the changing future.