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Contigency staffingtrends2011


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Contigency staffingtrends2011

  1. 1. Contingency Staffing Trends for 2011 and BeyondBy: John Rossheim, Monster Senior Contributing WriterAs contingent staffing led the employment crash of 2008-2009, it is roaring back in the 2010s.As they revamp their businesses, employers in several industries will continue to hedge theirlabor bets by ramping up with contract and temporary labor.“The general sense is that this particular recovery has much more uncertainty than previousones, though all metrics now point to improvement,” says Jai Shekhawat, CEO of Fieldglass, aChicago provider of software for contingent workforce management. This perception ofcontinuing business risk resulted in a staffing trend that saw an increase in staffing activity forstaffing firms that survived waves of consolidation.The Impact of Contingent and Temporary Staffing Trends on Staffing CompaniesThere’s no denying that it’s been a stomach-churning ride for all stakeholders. From 2007through mid-2009, the temporary workforce dove by 33.7 percent while the total privateworkforce dropped by just 5.8 percent, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statisticsdata in The Atlantic.Then in 2010, employment in temporary help services rose by about 300,000 to 2.21 million,according to the BLS. “By 2012, contingent employment will have returned to 2008 levels,”says Dana Shaw, senior vice president for strategy and solutions at Staffing Industry Analystsin Mountain View, Calif.Some see the trend as part of tomorrow’s unconventional workforce and workforcecomposition transformation.Riding Out the Storm with Continent LaborMany companies used contingent labor as a sustaining force as part of their recession staffingsolution. Since September 2008, when the financial downturn became a crisis, 88 percent ofemployers have either maintained or increased the size of their non-employee workforce,according to a December 2010 survey by staffing firm Yoh.“Five years ago, organizations may not have had the appetite to prove the value of contractworkers,” says Amy Lewis, practice leader for talent strategy at Human Capital Institute, atrade group in Washington, D.C. “Now organizations are saying they want to be able tomeasure the output of a contractor versus a full-time employee. They’re now better able tomake a business case for using contract talent, if it’s properly structured.”Where is contingent staffing coming back with the most vigor? In diverse industries acrossseveral US regions:Professional Services Pulls in Contingent WorkersGiven positive experiences with contingent professionals on large projects such as Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory compliance, “clients are now accepting the idea of bringing in moreprofessional-level workers on a project basis,” says Brett Good, a senior district president withstaffing firm Robert Half International in Orange County, Calif.Professional contract employment, based in part on the longstanding practices of the ITindustry, is spreading to other sectors. “Business services, financial services, IT and retail areall absolutely growing,” says Shaw.The creative destruction of the financial collapse has engendered volumes of project workwell-suited to the contract white-collar set. “Industries that are going through fundamental
  2. 2. change are big users of professional contingent labor,” says Shekhawat. Banks and insurancecompanies, rejiggering to comply with a slew of recent regulation, are once again heavy usersof non-FTE professionals. Contingent hiring is particularly strong in financial services work tiedto lower interest rates, such as mortgage refinancing and loan modification, according toGood.Professional contingent hiring and staffing opportunities are increasing fastest in the Northeastand in the Southeast, where growth is returning, says Rebecca Callahan, president of staffingfirm SourceRight Solutions.Science and Technology Rises with Contingent Technical ProfessionalsAs major corporations sitting on cash begin to reinvest in their futures, they’re marshallingmore creative technical professionals on a long-term project basis.“The main areas are science, technology, engineering and math,” says Lewis. “Typically thesepeople have had a full career as a permanent employee, and they bring an incredible body ofknowledge to their contract work.” Defense contractors and construction firms are among theorganizations boosting their use of contingent technical professionals.Natural Resources Boom Hiring Contingent LaborAs energy prices rise with the tide of US and Asian economies, natural resources companiesare using contingent labor to ride the wave while mitigating the risk of hiring too much toosoon. “The industries that are doing the most contingent hiring are the industries that aredoing well, like natural resources, oil and gas,” says Shekhawat. Many of these operations arein Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.Other industries are ramping up contingent labor on the production side. “I see plenty ofprograms for light industrial,” says Callahan.What’s the new frontier of contingent staffing in the 2010s? The world’s the limit in globalrecruitment. “The contingent workforce has gone global,” says Shekhawat. “Now we deployour solution for one client in a dozen or even 30 or 40 countries.”