Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a slight dip in the number of contingent workers over the past decade plus. This is contrary to what the staffing industry has been experiencing regarding a fast-growing freelance and gig economy that gives workers maximum flexibility via contract and contingent roles.
Reasons for mixed messages may include: the way that workers are measured and classified by the BLS, the lack of data on people that find contingent work on mobile apps and websites, and the way that data survey questions are posed (e.g. “Do you expect your job to last?”). The BLS states that “contingent work and alternative employment arrangements are measured separately,” leaving much room for interpretation.
At the same time, as unemployment remains at record lows and skilled talent remains scarce, it serves to reason that companies need to be innovative in filling their talent needs. “More than 75% of HR leaders say they are willing to fill open positions with contingent workers,” remarks Scott Fraleigh, president of managed services programs (MSP) for Randstad Sourceright. “At least 1-in-4 [businesses] are already planning to shift traditional full-time positions to alternative arrangements over the next year.”
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