There seems to be no end in sight to contract staffing's growth as the industry breaks two new records for jobs.

Bingham Consulting Professional’s Monthly Employment Review for February reported that “temporary help services” added 24,000 jobs,reaching an all-time high of 2,800,300.  This is a 8.9% increase when compared with February 2013.  Temporary help services (aka contract staffing) also broke the record for market share with 2.0336. The previous record of 2.0288 was established in April 2000.

These numbers show that the surge in contract staffing since the recession is not a short-term trend. Companies are making contractors part of their long-term business strategies and are building blended workforce models around them. Economic uncertainty is driving this trend as employment regulations and political instability continue to increase. Rather than immediately hiring direct, employers are now looking at each job opening strategically to determine if a contractor would be a better fit. This is especially common in the following situations:

  1. Budget constraints – Contractors can be brought in even during hiring freezes because they fall under a different budget.
  2. Projects and critical deadlines  - Especially with projects that require special skills that won’t be needed when the project is complete.
  3. Hiring indecision – Companies can try someone on a contract-to-direct basis to ensure they are a good fit, or they can utilize a contractor while they continue to look for the right direct hire.
  4. Sudden busy time – When business picks up out of the blue, companies are nervous to hire direct because they don't want to have to lay people off if the surge is only temporary. But they still need to handle the current demand. Contract staffing allows them to quickly bring on the help they need and just as quickly reduce their staff if the need passes . . . without ugly layoffs.

These are just some of the most common situations, but the bottom line is that companies need and want contractors. To be seen as a true staffing partner, be sure that you are offering contract staffing services and are able to meet ALL your clients' staffing needs.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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