The makeup of the American workforce is undergoing a sea change, fueled in part by the current weak economy Companies and workers need to adapt.
According to Doug Berg, a workforce expert, the United States is in the middle of a big shift in the workforce, especially in the technology area. The way things have been done in the past just doesn’t apply any more, especially in the area of employee hiring.
If they are going to be successful, companies – including staffing agencies – and workers need to understand how the market for workers is playing out. Companies want quick access to workers who come in for just short periods. Preferences among workers are changing, as is innovation in technology.
The temporary staffing market is booming, growing from $60 billion a year to roughly $200 billion a year. This growth is also a marker of how the labor supply is shifting. The demand for contingent staffing is growing in all areas, while professional areas have been among the fastest growing. Creative, design and engineering consultants always have been in high demand.
The healthcare and legal areas also are showing big growth. Many businesses are moving toward contract and consulting work in the legal area because the big law firms are so expensive. So, instead of hiring a big name law firm, companies are trying to strengthen their own legal departments by hiring contractors.
The same thing is happening in the areas of accounting and finance. Companies are trying to use more contractors and consultants because the cost of these professionals is skyrocketing, driven in large part by government reporting regulations. One of the fringe benefits of this strategy is that a company can expand quickly when the need arises, and then shift resources as the need changes.
Berg predicts that the contingent workforce will only continue to grow. He uses information technology as an example. Companies that were 90 percent permanent workers and 10 percent contingent staffing are now closer to 60 percent full-time employees and 40 percent contract labor. Many of these are big companies, and the shift has allowed them to become more flexible.
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