Once upon a time, workers typically took contract staffing positions when they couldn't find a direct hire position. Those days are gone. Now, many workers WANT to be contractors. Contracting is not a last resort. It's a conscious choice.
Currently, 17.7 million Americans are identified as "independent workers (contractors, temps, freelancers, business owners, etc.), according to the 2013 MBO Partners State of Independence in America report. The majority of them (77% ) say they want to remain independent. The fact that direct hire employment is not the end goal marks a major shift in the American workforce. Let's see why this is happening.
- Flexibility - In the MBO Partners study, 73% of the participants said flexibility is more important than making the most money. This isn't all that surprising given the increasing emphasis on “work-life balance.” For workers juggling work and family obligations, flexibility isn’t just a perk, it’s a necessity. Contracting can help them gain that flexibility by allowing them to work more convenient hours, work away from the office, and take more time off.
- Satisfaction, Challenge, and Meaning - Many workers want to do more than just earn a paycheck. They want to do something that provides satisfaction, challenge, and meaning in their work This is especially true of Millennials. Contract assignments can fulfill this need because companies often use contractors to meet critical deadlines or complete projects, allowing workers to quickly see the impact of their work. Once they are done with assignment, they are able to move on to new challenging projects, preventing boredom. Contracting is a great solution for workers stuck in jobs where they see little opportunity for advancement.
- Financial Security - No matter how important ﬂexibility and job satisfaction may be to candidates, they still need to make a living. The days of spending your entire career with one company are gone, and the illusion of job security was shattered with the mass layoffs of the recession. In contract assignments, workers know from the get-go that their assignments are temporary. They usually know approximately when they will end rather than being blindsided by a sudden layoff. They often work with recruiters who have a vested interest in keeping them actively working in contract assignments. They are also paid for every hour worked and can earn overtime for any hours worked over 40 during a work week. When they are employed through a contract staffing back-office, they usually also have access to a full menu of benefits, including Affordable Care Act-compliant healthcare insurance; dental, vision, and life insurance; and 401(k).
Recruiters: Are You On Board?
One reason some recruiters shy away from offering contract staffing is because they are afraid they won't be able to ﬁnd contract candidates. But as you can see, that should not be a problem. So what is stopping you? Tell clients that you offer contract stafﬁng. Tell candidates about contract stafﬁng opportunities. Advertise contract stafﬁng on your website. You will be placing contractors before you know it!
Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.