Every week, US employers engage nearly 3 million workers through staffing firms, and that number is growing. Technology and generational changes in the way we work continue to make temporary work attractive to buyers and the workforce alike. If buyers want the best talent, they need to win these candidates. And that involves positioning your organization and even your staffing suppliers to become employers of choice.
And this is where technology comes in. Mobile apps and technology have changed how talent is engaged in every industry, even within the US manufacturing segment, which has traditionally lagged behind. This segment is the largest single temporary staffing market in the US with a market size of $24 billion.
Technology is enabling those with the right skills to work from anywhere, anytime — the ultimate flexibility. Online staffing (or the human cloud) nabbed 13% of the temporary workforce. Are you and your staffing firms keeping up and putting the human cloud to good use in your hunt for the best talent?
And is your staffing provider an employer (or recruiter) of choice for their employees and contingent talent? Highly comped workers may stay with the same staffing firm by choice. In our 2015-Temporary Worker Survey , taking on temporary work still seems to be a short-term option for most workers (spending about two to four years as a contingent before taking a traditional role) and compensation appears to be a key driver of how many years a worker is likely to stay a temporary worker. IT programmers, educators/trainers and architects/engineers, all highly comped, reported having the longest median length of assignment as a temporary workers. Note the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average worker today stays at a job 4.6 years and tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that.
How about benefits? In the last year, a few large companies, such as Microsoft  and Facebook , established minimum wages and paid leave mandates for contingents assigned to them. Ask your staffing firms what benefits they are providing across the board to make sure they are an employer of choice so you both reap the benefit.
Take advantage, reap the rewards. Many buyers are changing their hiring strategies to capture this rich source of talent and leverage it for peak demand, special projects and more traditional temporary needs like absences. Further, contingent engagements as a test for fit — try before you buy, contract to hire and/or temp to perm — is also becoming much more popular for workers and companies alike. Is it part of your strategy? If not, it probably should be.
Companies we surveyed say they are saving money by using contingent workers, too. In our Global Buyer Survey we asked buyers their perceived cost savings from using contingent workers . Buyers reported a median perceived cost savings of 9% and 64% of buyers said they reduced expenses by using contingent workers. There are several obvious areas buyers may save when using contingent workers: recruiting costs, severance pay and headcount of permanent workers. Another way companies save that is not as obvious: paying contingent workers a premium rate to complete temporary projects without having to increase wages across the board for the rest of your staff.
Finally, make sure to familiarize yourself and your team with the latest research, terminology, best practices and standards to position your company and staffing firm suppliers to compete in a market where there may be many more engagement choices for contractors, consultants and temporaries.
[By the way, when we asked contingent workers what they want to be called, 38% said call them “contractors,” followed by “consultant.” “Temp” or “temporary” was the third choice. Incidentally, “contingent worker” did not even make the list.]