Sometimes it is nice to know that what we feel here at the office every week, what we hear from our customers and partners, is being clearly recognized as a big trend in employment. In the past two weeks, national publications including the both the WSJ and NYTimes have published pieces corroborating contingent and part-time workers are growing rapidly.
On a front page article two weeks ago entitled “Weighing Costs, Companies Favor Temporary Help”, the New York Times spelled out clearly how much new hiring is trending towards part-time workers (“contingent labor” is the term human resources uses, but I’ll opt for plain English here) as a more enduring trend. Business hiring for temporary and part-time positions in the current recession is nearly triple what it was for our last major recession in 1991-92. Below is the key excerpt from the article:
“This year, 26.2 percent of all jobs added by private sector employers were temporary positions. In the comparable period after the recession of the early 1990s, only 10.9 percent of the private sector jobs added were temporary, and after the downturn earlier this decade, just 7.1 percent were temporary.
“Temporary employees still make up a small fraction of total employees, but that segment has been rising steeply over the past year. ‘It hints at a structural change,’ said Allen L. Sinai, chief global economist at the consulting firm Decision Economics. Temp workers ‘are becoming an ever more important part of what is going on,’ he said.”
Businesses that recognize this trend and learn quickly how to efficiently manage their blended workforce (some full-time, some part-time, some contractors) will be reaping the rewards in the coming decade in terms of lower operating expenses, competitive advantages in recruiting, and ability to more rapidly adjust service delivery to client or internal operation requirements.