Finally some good news on the economy: The United States added 288,000 jobs last month and unemployment dropped to 6.1%, the lowest point since September 2008,according to the latest Employment Situation Summary for June.
The job gains were shared by a variety of industries, giving the recovery the type of boost economists (and recruiters) have been looking for since the recession ended.
But if you are a recruiter, this is only part of the good news. The other part is that over 10,000 of the jobs added were in the "temporary help services" sector. With these additional jobs, a new all-time high temp penetration rate was achieved.
That rate, which calculates the number of contract jobs as a percentage of total employment, is now at 2.0677%. That percentage has risen for 19 of the past 20 months, according to Bloomberg.
That means if you are a recruiter working a blended (direct hire and contract staffing) desk, you can expect success on both sides of your business. If this was like other recessions and recoveries, the popularity of contract staffing would likely be declining. Companies have typically used contract staffing to test the hiring waters immediately following a recession and then returned to direct hiring when the overall job market improved. That does not appear to be the case this time as contract staffing growth remains strong.
These numbers illustrate the fundamental shift toward a new blended workforce model in which employers utilize both direct hires and contractors as part of a long-term business strategy. This model allows companies to remain flexible to respond to ever-changing business demands, continued economic uncertainty (healthcare reform, political unrest, etc.), and increasing employment regulations. Workers are also driving this new model as they increasingly adopt contract staffing as a way to achieve work-life balance and increase their earning potential. As a result, experts predict that contractors will comprise 40-50% of the entire workforce by 2020.
In other words, contract staffing is not going away. Companies and candidates have embraced contracting, so if you want to remain competitive in this new environment, you will want add contract staffing to your business model . . . and enjoy a new steady stream of income as a result.