Contract staffing, also known as temporary or contingent staffing, has long been a solution for employers to meet short-term or variable staffing needs, while providing candidates with the opportunity to gain seasonal work or work between permanent positions. Temporary employees are no longer viewed as just being lower-level, non-essential and less-committed workers. In fact, the recession of 2008 introduced many companies to the value of having contractors as a significant portion of their workforce.
As the job outlook improves, contract staffing remains as a viable, growing workforce solution for not only satisfying administrative needs, but also engaging senior-level staff, in a cost-effective manner for strategic, leadership expertise. Contract staffing is becoming such an integral part of the workforce that Staffing Industry Analysts predicts 50 percent of the workers at Fortune 100 companies will be contingent hires by 2020. While every employer's need for contract workers will vary, they will increasingly need to think about how to implement an effective recruitment strategy that provides the right mix of contingent and permanent workers to move their organization forward.
According to Staffing Industry Analysts' Temporary Staffing Trends, Development and Forecasts webinar, the U.S. temporary staffing market is projected to experience 5 percent growth in 2014 and 4 percent globally. "Our employment landscape is changing and it's clear that contract staffing is no longer being viewed as just a secondary or backup labor solution," says DD Graf, vice president of contract staffing for MRINetwork. "The focus is moving from using temporary workers to fill in for or replace permanent functions, to more of a strategic approach in which companies contemplate whether key initiatives will require temporary vs. permanent work."
Graf offers the following advice for implementing an effective contract staffing recruitment strategy:
Include discussions around the workforce mix in annual company-wide strategy sessions. Companies should be considering the contingent labor that will be required to drive the organization's strategy instead of waiting until demands become too much, or out of the scope of work performed by permanent staff. Simply put, consider if you have everyone needed on board to accomplish company goals.
Don't disregard contract talent as only short-term workers. While contract talent are frequently hired for project-based work or short-term, mission-critical initiatives, there is a large pool of highly-skilled, contract talent that is increasingly being hired for projects that last several months or even years. Many of these top performers also prefer contract staffing for the same reasons companies do: work flexibility and the ability to demonstrate expertise in a given area. Utilizing contingent workers in this manner, makes it advantageous for employers to solve temporary workforce needs in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.
Consider your industry and the variances in workflow that happen throughout the year. Industries that are highly susceptible to fluctuations in workflow are information technology, electronic patient records implementation, healthcare information technology and pharmaceutical/life sciences. Having variable staffing expenses will allow you to better control your costs.
Partner with a staffing company that has expertise as a single source solution provider for contract and permanent assignments. When bringing in the best talent is the goal, working with a staffing organization that understands your industry, has relationships with top candidates and has your company's best interest in mind, can provide you with the competitive edge to recruit the top performers in your market, whether on a permanent or contract basis. As entities that remain current on constantly changing contract labor regulations and handling payroll and other back offices responsibilities, staffing organizations take much of the risk out of contract staffing, while helping you implement effective recruitment strategies.
As we move towards the 2020 workforce, companies are becoming more quality-focused as opposed to work output-focused. Graf concludes, "This fundamental shift in the workplace is causing companies to dissect and redesign work responsibilities and even roles, creating a growing need for contract staffing."