Dec 01, 2013

TrendLine in 2013

Over 2013 Trendline has covered a vast array of topics. In this article, we list the topics we paid the most attention to this year, and forecast those workforce trends we predict being of importance in 2014.

With more and more CEOs citing talent acquisition and management as their critical concern in 2013 and also for the upcoming year, we have strived to provide further insight into the trends that drive the extended workforce. According to Bryan Peña, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Vice President of Contingent Workforce Strategies and Research, contingent workers make up 13 to 15 percent of the average workforce in most companies, and in some even exceed 50 percent of the overall workforce. With a significant portion of the workforce being contingent, managers find it increasingly imperative to focus on the role of this type of worker.

This year, we largely focused on topics that were of interest to employers, particularly as we expect these subjects to have an impact on the economy, recruiting, and employment in 2014.

  1. Occupations with the highest concentrations of temporary workers
  2. U.S. states with positive and negative growth in temp worker demand
  3. Utilization of social media for recruiting and hiring
  4. The growing elderly population and its impact on the economy and productivity
  5. H-1B Visas and their impact on the U.S. job market
  6. The unemployment rate
  7. The role of big data in recruitment
  8. The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  9. OSHA protections for temporary workers
  10. International trends for temporary jobs

In 2014, we expect certain new workplace trends to emerge and some major phenomena from this year to continue to grow. As more baby boomers retire and remote work increases, the concept of “work” continues to change. Additionally, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have an impact on hiring.  Here are some of the major workplace trends we recommend that managers pay attention to in 2014:

1)  The impact of healthcare on hiring

ACA is causing employers to delay hiring in the upcoming year. According to, nine  out of fourteen economists say that companies are putting off hiring due to healthcare reform.

2)  The growth of freelancing

Today, 17 million Americans (or one third of the population) are working as freelancers, contractors and consultants. Experts estimate that in six years, freelance jobs will outnumber permanent positions. Employers are increasingly choosing to hire temporary workers in order to save money and find specialized expertise for projects.

3)  Changing demographics in the workforce

Baby boomers are beginning to retire, with 18 percent expected to retire within the next five years. Additionally, millennials are estimated to account for 36 percent of the American workforce in 2014. With these major shifts in workforce demographics, companies are starting to pay more attention to succession planning and creating new opportunities for younger generations.

4)  Switching recruiting channels

As applicants continue to grow more discouraged with online job application platforms and the black hole of resumes, companies are starting to focus on improving candidate experience. Employers are looking for new ways to filter applicants and are using social networks to interact with and screen candidates. reports that 94 percent of employers used social networks for recruiting in 2013.

5)  An increase in active job seekers

Workers are increasingly getting restless with their current jobs, and actively seeking new opportunities. A recent survey showed that 48 percent of millennials conduct job surveys while still at their workplace, and 73 percent of workers are not opposed to looking for a new opportunity before leaving their current employment.

6)  The importance of reputation

Both workers and candidates are paying more attention to reputation. Due to the uncertain economy and fear of incurring costs, companies are looking for quality hires, while candidates are judging companies based on their reputations and consumer brands. A CareerBuilder study revealed that 75 percent of job seekers would accept a lower salary to work for a good brand.

The Growth of Temporary Employment

“It’s no secret that organizations are increasingly relying upon contract talent for a variety of critical roles, many of which have significant corporate ramifications. In managing a contemporary contingent-based workforce, executives across the globe must fine-tune their strategies to anticipate a future in which contract talent is an even bigger piece of the corporate puzzle, and look to a series of next-generation concepts and technologies to drive true value out of this complex category, all while building an effective (and deep) framework that supports all avenues of the contingent workforce umbrella.” ~Christopher Dwyer, Research Director and VP of Operations at Ardent Partners

Temporary and part-time employment is by far the fastest-growing segment of the American job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of part-time employees is at a record high of 28 million, while temporary employment has jumped 50 percent since the financial crisis of 2009. Companies are increasingly looking for more flexibility while still aiming to cut their fixed costs by employing a smaller workforce. Managers are shifting their human capital concerns to focus more intensely on productivity.

In the U.S. today, over 58% of firms are willing to employ temp workers at all levels of the workforce.

Independent workers are major contributors to the American economy. This year, independent workers generate nearly $1.2 trillion in total income, up 20 percent from 2012. These workers are also job creators, where in 2013, approximately 25 percent of independent workers hired other temp workers, spending $96 billion and employing the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers through contract hiring

“Average performers – be they bosses or workers – become relatively less valuable over time…If this sounds suspiciously like Pareto’s 80/20 Principle – that’s exactly my intent. The useful oversimplification that 80% of value creation/productivity boosts comes from 20% of the workforce suggest certain ineluctable mathematical outcomes. Let’s be flexible and forgiving and assert that roughly 75% of enterprise value/productivity comes from 25% of the workforce.” ~Michael Schrage, Research Fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business and Author of Harvard Business Review Blogs