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After a record-breaking 2013, contract staffing continues to break records as employers build their businesses around blended workforce models.

According to Bingham Consulting Professional’s Monthly Employment Review for February, “temporary help services”  added 24,000 jobs, reaching an all-time high of 2,800,300.  This represented a 8.9% increase over February 2013.  Additionally, temporary help services (aka contract staffing) hit a record market share of 2.0336, edging out the previous record market share of 2.0288 established in April 2000.

These numbers support what we have said numerous times on this blog and elsewhere: the increase in contract staffing since the recession is not a short-term trend. Companies are using contractors as part of a long-term business strategy, building blended workforce models around them. This is due in large part to the economic uncertainty that still prevails in light of ever-increasing employment regulations (most notably Obamacare) and political instability. Employers are looking strategically at each job opening to determine if a direct hire is the best fit. Often they are finding that a contractor is better suited, especially in the following situations:

  1. Hiring freezes – Contractors can be brought in because funding for contractors typically comes from a different budget.
  2. Special projects  – Especially if those projects require special skills that won’t be needed when the project is complete.
  3. Difficult hiring decisions – Companies can try candidates on a contract-to-direct basis to ensure they are getting the right fit, or they can utilize a contractor in the interim while continuing to look for a direct hire.
  4. Sudden surges in business – A company may need additional help if business suddenly picks up, but if they are not sure how long the surge will last, they probably won’t want to add to their overhead permanently.  Contract staffing allows them to quickly bring on the help they need and just as quickly reduce their staff if the need passes… without the ugly layoffs that often accompany a reduction in force.

These are just some of the most common reasons, but the point 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 are offering contract placement services and keeping your recruiting software stocked with clients and candidates open to contract employment.

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