If there was any doubt that the contract staffing growth experienced in the past few years is more than a mere reaction to the recession, that doubt should be put to rest with the latest Employment Situation Summary for June.
The jobs report exceeded expectations, showing that the United States added 288,000 jobs last month and unemployment dropped to 6.1%, the lowest point since September 2008, according to Forbes. The job gains were shared by a variety of industries, giving the recovery the type of boost economists have been looking for since the recession ended.
If this was like other recessions and recoveries, we would expect that the popularity of contract staffing would now decline. Typically, companies have used contract staffing to test the hiring waters following a recession and then return to direct hiring once the overall job market improves. That does not appear to be the case this time. In fact, “temporary help services” added 10,100 jobs in June, once again reaching an all-time high temp penetration rate. That rate, which calculates the number of contract jobs as a percentage of total employment, is now at 2.0677%. That percentage has risen for 19 of the past 20 months, according to Bloomberg.
These numbers support what we have long been saying on this blog: There has been a fundamental shift toward a new blended workforce model in which employers utilize both direct hires and contractors as part of a long-term business strategy. This blended workforce model allows companies to remain nimble as they respond to ever-changing business demands, continued economic uncertainty (healthcare reform, political unrest, etc.), and increasing employment regulations. Meanwhile, individuals are also changing the way they approach work with many adopting contract staffing as a lifestyle due to the flexibility and increased earning potential it offers. As a result, experts predict that contractors will comprise 40-50% of the entire workforce by 2020.
The June jobs report is great news for workers, employers, and our economy as a whole, but it’s even better news for recruiters. The overall growth in jobs will hopefully result in an uptick in your direct hire business, but you can also cash in on the continued popularity of contract staffing by placing contractors. This allows you to add a steady stream of recruiter income in between your direct hire placement fees.
If you have not yet added contract staffing, these statistics show that it is not going away. Companies and candidates have embraced contracting, so if you want to remain competitive in this new environment, you will want to be sure sure you can meet their needs by offering contract staffing.