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Karen Dwyer: Rebuilding Your Business with Contingent Work Force

Temporary staffing has become a win-win for employers and employees

Employers who have weathered the recession are preparing to rebuild their businesses — small- to large-size businesses alike. In a growing trend, employers are choosing to restore their companies to pre-recession measures through contingent hiring.

Karen Dwyer
Karen Dwyer

Contingent workers are individual workers who work part time, under a contract for a fixed period of time or on a specific project. They go by various terms, including temporary, leased, on-call or contract workers. Although the initial concept for hiring temporary employees was to fill in for absent full-time workers because of illness or time off during a vacation, nearly 90 percent of employers today use some form of temporary staffing in their work force.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts, an advisory board on contingent work force, contract staffing is a $70 billion market with nearly 60 percent spent in professional and technical areas, creating high demands for temporary workers in all industries. Experts predict 2010 will bring even higher contract labor usage as employers begin to rebuild their business.

Businesses are opting to hire temporary employees over permanent workers because of the benefits it provides the employer. Besides the immediate cost savings of hiring temporary workers, a contingent work force can offer flexibility in work staff and lower an employer’s contributions to employment taxes and benefit plans. During a time when every penny counts and results matter, these savings add up.

But employers aren’t the only ones seeing benefits by hiring temporary employees. Contingent workers are seeing the benefits, too. Working on a temporary basis for different employers allows individuals to increase their skill sets, networking circles and flexibility in their work life.

Employers will see more and more potential candidates utilizing staffing agencies as job seekers take on a more entrepreneurial spirit and flexible work schedules become more important in their daily lives. Employers today spend more time searching for and screening job candidates, ultimately costing more time and productivity.

Utilizing a staffing company to assist in finding temporary or contract workers is a great way to find qualified candidates without the big investment it takes to search for qualified employees. Most agencies that specialize in temporary staffing work exclusively with their clients to understand their needs and find the best prospect, freeing the employer to focus on the task at hand — getting the job done and rebuilding the business.

Another benefit to hiring temporary employees is the ability to observe a potential full-time hire’s work quality, compatibility with other employees and ability to fit into the company culture. When determining whether an employee will be an asset to the team, employers aren’t required to pay for health insurance and pension benefits, include them in payroll accounting, or cover them under workers compensation insurance. However, contract workers aren’t left without benefits that permanent staff members receive. Most staffing companies manage temporary employees as full-time workers, offering benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation and 401(k) plans.

In today’s job market, driven by a results-based work environment and the increasing need to have more work force flexibility, contract employees are becoming the solution.

Employers who maintain a contingent work staff will benefit from reduced fixed costs and flexible solutions in a fluctuating economy, while contingent employees see higher flexibility in their job choice and schedule and increased skill sets in their repertoire.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

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