2014 was a big year for contract staffing. The “temporary help services sector” added jobs and broke records nearly every month. This growth continues even now that direct hiring has finally bounced back from the recession.
So what does 2015 hold for contract staffing? Happily, we are expecting even more growth. Here are the likely contract staffing trends for 2015:
- Continued adoption of blended workforce models - One of the largest trends we have noticed is the gradual change from a conventional, direct hire workforce to a blended workforce model that includes both direct hires AND contractors. In the blended workforce model, companies utilize a small base of traditional, direct hire employees aided by a group of contractors that can be scaled to meet business needs. This provides companies with flexibility, cost savings, and reduced liability. This trend has grown over the last few years and is poised to advance even farther in 2015.
- Growth of technology - The growth of the Internet and mobile devices has changed employment, allowing employees to work remotely and paving the way for “virtual teams.” In fact, according to Fast Company, the number of people working from home at least one day a week increased by 80% between 2005 and 2012. These remote workers are the ideal candidates to take on the type of project-based work that is characteristic of contract assignments.
- Generation Y and Generation X choose contracting lifestyles - The newer members of the workforce like contracting because the lifestyle offers variety, flexibility, and greater control over their careers. Accordingly, we will continue to see more workers from these generations deliberately choose contract assignments over traditional jobs.
- Boomers retiring - On the other side of the equation, Baby Boomers are feeling financially secure enough to retire, creating an experience scarcity for many industries and companies. This will encourage an already growing trend known as retiree restaffing where companies bring retirees back as consultants on a contract basis to make use of their expertise. Boomers also like the flexibility of these arrangements which let them remain effective in the workforce and supplement their retirement funds.
- Obamacare impact - The employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) began rolling out January 1, 2015. This element requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to furnish affordable healthcare insurance to those employees. Those with 100 or more employees must comply this year or be penalized, while employers with 50-99 full-time employees have a respite until 2016. We expect that the phasing in of the employer mandate will further encourage contractor usage as employers try to lower their full-time employee headcount.
- Top contract staffing industries stay the course - We predict contract staffing will remain strong in Information Technology (IT), always the ideal industry for contracting, as well as in Engineering/Manufacturing, Healthcare (white collar professionals with 4-6 years of education), and Accounting/Finance. However, contract staffing has been growing and will continue to do so for a large variety of business professionals. In fact, we don’t envision any sector remaining unaffected by contract staffing.
If the economy continues to grow as predicted, it may be a very good year for recruiters. Contract staffing is a pivotal part of that growth. Therefore, one of the best ways to make certain of a successful 2015 and beyond is to ensure you are offering contract staffing as an option to both your clients and candidates.