According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an all-time high of 2.8 million Americans are working in temporary help jobs. The report states that temporary jobs make up 2 percent of total employment in the United States. Additionally, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using temporary workers, especially in their warehouses.
Additionally, the American Staffing Association (ASA) shows figures stating that more than 12 million people, or 10 percent of the labor force, worked for a temporary employment agency at some point in 2013.
Some experts believe that employers are turning to temporary workers to fill their workforce needs in order to combat the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), since employers are not required to offer healthcare coverage for these workers. Others point to employers’ concerns about economic uncertainty as a reason prompting them to seek out flexible workforces.
The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the American economy added 13,000 new temporary help services jobs in August 2014.
Year-over-Year Growth in Temp Employment
The surge in temporary worker engagement is expected to continue. A study from MBO Partners forecasts that more than 24 million people will work as independent workers by 2018. And according to CareerBuilder, 42 percent of employers have plans to hire temporary or contract workers in 2014. Experts expect that the staffing industry will grow by 7 percent in 2015.
In Q2 of 2014, staffing companies employed an average of 3.15 million temporary and contract workers per week, according to the American Staffing Association. Staffing firm employment increased by 6.2 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter of the year, adding more than 182,600 workers.
Temp Work is No Longer a Stepping Stone
Once considered a gateway to permanent employment, temporary work is now the new normal. Many workers prefer the flexibility and access to a wide variety of work assignments that temporary positions offer. Technology and new talent platforms have made it easier for independent workers to find jobs. Approximately 65 percent of workers with temp jobs say that the Internet has made it easier to find work.
Top Reasons for Working at Temp Jobs
Source: Freelancer’s Union
According to recent research by the Freelancers Union, 43 percent of freelancers expect their income to increase, and 77 percent say that they earn the same or more wages than they did before taking on independent work. According to government reports, freelancers contribute an estimated $716 million annually in earnings to the economy.
Millennials, especially, are freelancing more than any other age group. According to the report, 38 percent of 18 to 34 year olds work as temporary workers.
Temp Work Segments
Source: Harvard Business Review
City Highlight: Dallas – Temp Capital of the U.S.?
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has created almost 24,000 temp jobs in the temp sector in the year ending in July 2014. That is a growth rate of 23 percent year-over-year, which is three times the level of the segment nationwide and the highest among large metros.
“There’s not much mystery here. Employment is growing much faster in Dallas, so it makes sense that staffing would be outpacing everywhere, too.” ~ Richard Wahlquist, CEO of the American Staffing Association
Staffing experts cite increases in business relocation and demand for technology workers, along with oil and gas companies’ labor demands as reasons for the large growth in temp employment.
In the Dallas area, temp spending totaled $3.4 billion last year. Almost half of this spend was on temp positions in light industrial, construction, and office positions. The rest was for high-paid workers in technology, engineering, healthcare, and finance and accounting.
One-Year Growth in Employment Services, July 2014
Source: Dallas News
“Many people build successful careers as temporary workers and don’t pursue permanent placement. They like the flexibility, and they like having a variety of worker experiences. Some workers prefer assignments within their wheelhouse. Others like to try out new functions. Either way, you get exposure to different learning opportunities.” ~Eric Gilpin, President of CareerBuilder’s Staffing & Recruiting Group