Temporary Hiring Becomes Permanent Part of Economy

Since the recession derailed job growth and the economy as a whole, temporary positions have become a sweet spot for employers. The reason is simple: less risk. Businesses who don’t want to invest in a full-time employee have created just-in-time positions that may last a month, a year, or even a “forever” temp job.

This section of the labor market is exploding. According to recent figures, there are nearly 17 million people employed on a contingency basis. These workers may be consultants, temporary workers through an agency, or contract workers.

Temporary workers aren’t just found in administrative jobs anymore. Doctors, lawyers, and IT specialists can also be found in the contingency sector.

Contractors that specialize typically receive a higher rate, although they don’t have access to those coveted company benefits, stock options, or a 401K.

But temporary work means less commitment and loyalty, and that can be dangerous to growth and productivity, not to mention morale.

In the past, companies typically performed labor hoarding; that is, they rode out the recession by retaining most of their staff, hoping things would pick up in the end. But times have changed, and this recession employers have leaned heavily on their temporary workforce.

Although most workers hope their temp position will lead to full-time, recent research shows that only about 27 percent of these assignments lead to permanent placement.

Whether or not the temp population will remain so uncharacteristically high is not certain, but economists predict that it will remain this way for at least several months, possibly years.

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