The Rise of Temp Employment and Why All Job Seekers Should Consider Contract Roles

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Sep 1, 2015 8:36:00 AM

In ICS insights

In the job market of today, many job seekers are still reluctant to consider temporary employment or also known as consulting/contract jobs as a viable option for their career. With the changing times, they could be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.  Temporary employment has long carried a stigma of being limited, low level, and short term work with no foreseeable long term benefit to the worker.  What most job seekers do not realize is how much temporary employment has evolved since the beginning of the recession.  More companies are using temporary staffing than ever before, resulting in the temp segment of the workforce having almost doubled in the past five years.  In addition to this growth, temporary/contract employment has also broadened to reach several different levels and types of positions.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 2% of the entire workforce consists of temporary workers, or approximately 3 million total temporary workers, and is close to double the 1.8 million such workers reported in 2009.  Additionally, more than 90% of U.S. companies are currently using contract or temporary employees. Some of the fastest growing temporary positions include RN's, Administrative Assistants and Human Resources professionals.  Of course, just like anything else, there are pros and cons to temporary employment.  So, why should one consider this career choice?

There are many benefits to temporary employment that cater to different job seeker's wants and needs.  It can be a great option for someone who has recently been laid off and needs the immediate income while they search for a more permanent solution.  On the flip side, some temporary positions allow one to further develop skills they already have and/or learn new skills or technologies that will boost their resume and career.  Some people also consider temporary employment as a “foot in the door” with an organization they otherwise could not get into.  These are just a few examples of the benefits of temporary employment. 

One should consider the negative attributes associated with temporary employment as well.  The two concerns expressed most frequently by job seekers are the lack of good benefits (health, PTO, etc,) and the insecurity of short term employment.  These are both reasonable concerns and should be further investigated prior to making a decision.  Most staffing firms do offer benefits packages to the temporary employees they place, and contract or temporary work typically pays more than the equivalent permanent position.  As for longevity, temporary assignments can range from a one day, one week or one month assignment, and can extend out all the way up to five or more years.  However, one must also consider that more than 50% of temporary workers are converted to full time, permanent employees.  Although there seems to be more comfort in obtaining a permanent position, there are no guarantees, and most employers have adopted an “at will” employment agreement which would allow either party to terminate employment at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all.

Finding what is right for you and your current situation is paramount, and the best way of doing so is building a strong relationship with a staffing professional.  Whether you work with one recruiter or a few, finding someone you are comfortable working with and who has a strong understanding of the market will be able to best assist you in making educated decisions about temporary employment.  As temporary employment continues to serve as an increasingly viable method for employers, most job seekers should at least consider temporary employment as an option that could result in an incredible opportunity.


For more information about contracting or consulting work through ICS, visit us here