As job creation in the professional arena continues to drive the economic recovery, the Business Professional and Support Staff sector is becoming one of the hottest areas for contract staffing.
According to Top Echelon Contracting's (TEC) 2012 statistics, Business Professional and Support Staff contractors accounted for 25% of our contract placements, compared with 16% in 2011. The only sector to bring in more contractors last year was Healthcare.
This is no big surprise. While jobs lost in the recession were manual manufacturing and construction positions, employment experts have noted that job creation in the recovery is coming from the professional sector. The unemployment numbers bear this out. The unemployment rate for degreed, white collar professionals has remained under 4% even as the overall rate has struggled to get just below the 8% mark.
A recent CNNMoney article confirms that workers with the highest levels of education are enjoying the fastest employment gains in the recovery.
"Relative demand for highly educated workers is increasing," Brookings Institution Senior Research Associate Jonathan Rothwell told CNNMoney. "There's a long-run shift in the economy toward more professional occupations, and it's mostly at the expense of blue collar occupations."
TEC's statistics also indicate a change in attitude toward contract staffing among both professional candidates and companies. Contractors used to be thought of mainly as "temps" working very short-term assignments in clerical and blue collar positions. Now companies are utilizing contractors for more long term (six to nine month average) assignments in positions all the way up to the C-Suite. One trend that has come out of this is executive temping where companies utilize contractors to serve as interim executives, to complete executive-level projects, or to serve as consultants.
As employers continue to find more ways to cut costs in this roller coaster economy and workers look for increased flexibility, we can only expect this trend to continue.