The Contract Worker Marketplace: Advantages You Need To Know Now
The On-Demand economy has created new staffing needs for businesses and greater opportunities for contract workers. Demand for workers ebbs and flows with the rapidly changing business cycle. Businesses that quickly and efficiently meet staffing needs will come out on top. Using a hiring platform to add contract workers can help solve a variety of staff shortage problems:
● Staffing demands that vary from project to project
● Seasonal shifts in labor demands
● Family, medical or maternity leave by key employees
● Mergers and acquisitions
● A physical move of offices or headquarters
● A sudden increase in business of indeterminate duration
● A desire to try out a key staff member before hiring permanently
● Specialized expertise needed for a period of time
● Significant administrative, financial and legal risks of directly hiring independent contractors
The pace of modern business has accelerated, and the need for qualified, technically-competent contract workers can happen literally overnight. The ability to quickly respond to surging staffing demands is what will distinguish businesses who will become leaders in the field from those who will be left behind.
A January 2018 NPR/Marist poll found that 1 in 5 people are engaged in what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “alternative work arrangements.” This number includes people who work as independent contractors, as on-call workers, for temporary agencies, and contract hiring firms. Add in self-employed business owners and this number doubles. According to Forbes Magazine, a whopping 40.4% of workers in the U.S. have “contingent” jobs – jobs without the traditional elements of secure employment such as health insurance, retirement benefits or tenure. The same Forbes Magazine article, which relies on U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010, reports that the number of contingent workers rose from about 30% of the total workforce in 2005 to the cited level of 40.4% in just five short years. And, according to management consultants McKinsey and Company, the contingent worker ratio is expected to rise to 50% by the end of the decade. The data clearly shows that non-traditional work situations are a significant and growing segment of the American workplace.
Much of this trend is powered by the objectives of the workers. Many, if not most, of the 40.4% workers prefer contract work to traditional full-time jobs. Among the demographic groups benefiting most from contract work are college students, who use contract work to help develop skills.
3% of the U.S. workforce uses contract management firms to secure work with the corporate clients of these firms, which run the full gamut from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Using a contract hiring platform, workers are given access to jobs not typically advertised online, and client businesses can select the workers whose skills best match their needs without the expense and time demands of sifting through batches of resumes from unqualified applicants. Many of the largest Fortune 500 firms, such as Apple, Citibank and FedEx, rarely hire independent contractors directly, but provide work to thousands of contract workers through contract management firms.
The contract work marketplace in 2018 is a combination of demand and opportunity for both workers and corporations, and if your company isn’t already using a contract worker hiring platform, trends forecast that it will be in the near future.
Here are nine common workplace problems that can be solved using the technology and security of a contract hiring platform:
1. Project-based staffing demands
Construction and technology companies are two types of businesses that are project-based, and their staffing needs can change with the number of projects in which they are engaged. Staff needs can also vary within the cycle of the project. Keeping regular salaried employees on the payroll between projects or times of need is costly and inefficient, but hiring and training new employees during times of peak demand is also expensive and time-consuming.
The construction industry is robust once again after the nadir of the 2008-9 recession. During the recession, many construction workers transitioned to other jobs and have not returned to the industry. As a result, the boom in demand has been met with a shortage of qualified construction workers.
2. Seasonal shifts in demand
Special event production companies are examples of businesses that are both project-based and (often) seasonally oriented. Athletic event producers and wedding planners are busiest during the warm-weather months, but party planners and caterers may be most active during the winter holidays. There will be some weekends that have multiple events scheduled, and others that have none. Accounting and tax preparation firms also need additional employees when seasonal deadlines approach. For these and many other companies, hiring full-time employees is not a viable solution for their fluctuating labor needs.
3. An employee has taken medical, maternity or family leave
A salaried employee that is forced to take medical leave often puts his employer in a tough spot. The employee’s job may be indispensable to the operation of the business, but also specialized enough that a replacement cannot be found. The length of the employee’s absence may also be unknown.
4. Your business is merging with another
When two separate companies combine forces, it creates both extra labor during the transition period and uncertainty regarding long-term labor needs. Many times, job redundancies and efficiencies created by the merger mean that extra workers needed just before and during the consolidation will not be necessary at a later date.
5. Your business is moving locations
If your business is moving to a new location, there are logistical issues and manual labor needs that full-time employees do not have the time or expertise to handle. Bringing in contract moving specialists will ease the tension and anxiety surrounding the change of location.
6. Your business is booming
Congratulations! While a full workload is great for the bottom line, it can put extra strain on full-time salaried employees and negatively affect company morale. If your staff cannot meet the production schedules to satisfy clients, your business reputation may suffer. You also may not know if the surge in business is temporary or permanent in nature. In that regard, hiring full-time employees is a risky proposition.
7. You want to “try before you buy”
When your business seeks to fill a new job position, it’s helpful to see how one or more workers will perform in the role first. However, there can be administrative hurdles and legal issues hiring and terminating full-time employees who are unsuccessful at their job. The financial costs can also be substantial.
8. Specialized expertise is needed
Perhaps your business is newly formed and needs IT workers to get computer systems up and running, as well as employees trained in operating the technology. Your business may also need workers with a background in accounting during tax season, or year-round to provide company reporting. Today’s accelerated business leave little time to train new workers for jobs demanding specialized knowledge.
9. The risks of hiring independent contractors directly
There are consequences for businesses which directly hire workers that are misclassified as independent contractors, either intentionally or in error. These include steep fines, tax liabilities and lawsuits. For these reasons, as mentioned earlier, many of the top Fortune 500 corporations will not hire independent contractors directly, even though they bring on thousands of contract workers each year. They businesses may choose the convenience and speed of recruiting contract workers through a hiring platform.
Using contract workers from a hiring platform like laborocity.com can provide a user-friendly, cost-effective solution for labor sourcing challenges.
Contract workers can be brought on board for lengthy projects, and additional workers can be quickly provided if labor needs are greater than anticipated. Seasonal labor needs and special events are just a few scenarios in which using contract workers can provide the ideal answer.
The savings in recruitment, retention and legacy costs realized using contract workers are significant. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that businesses save between 20-40% using contract workers, since they avoid paying payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and disability, as well as benefits like sick leave and retirement.
The use of a contract hiring platform can make staffing workers with specialized skills easier, because the hiring firm will have carefully chosen and vetted the workers prior to the project. Sites like laborocity.com understand the importance that businesses place on finding pre-qualified workers quickly.
Using contract workers makes good business sense. A contract workforce provides a pool of dedicated and reliable workers to help weather seasonal or economic changes in your company’s workload. For companies in the construction, special event and moving industries, using contract workers on a per-project basis provides the best solution to your uncertain labor needs. You will also have access to new workers who can bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to your business.
Finally, using a contract hiring platform to recruit permanent employees through contract job “tryouts”, is like having a farm-league team for your Major League corporation. All of these benefits accrue to your business without administrative, financial and legal risks.
The use of a contract worker hiring platform is an easy workforce solution to the shifting labor needs created by a rapidly changing economy.
Thoughts? Hit me up. Woody@Laborocity.com
Woody Klemmer is the Co-founder of Laborocity, a company that provides businesses with qualified workers, “Doers”, on-demand.