Today, there’s a bifurcation in the marketplace between people who want full-time jobs at any one company and those who eschew them, according to Kip Wright, the executive who manages TAPFIN, the global MSP offering of ManpowerGroup Solutions.
The growth of this new kind of worker is changing the way companies outsource their recruiting. Now, companies are likely to turn to a managed service provider (MSP) for help because finding contingent labor, then recruiting, deploying and paying them is different from issuing standard paychecks and a W-2 at the end of the year.
Today there are more contingent workers to find. Lisa Fitzgerald, senior director with the contingent workforce practice of Kelly OCG, says Kelly conducts an annual talent management survey. The survey labels anyone who is not a full-time employee at one company a free agent. This year the number of free agents jumped to 44 percent of its survey sample, up from 26 percent in 2010.
Fitzgerald says if an outsourcing buyer today asks Kelly to place a full-time person, it’s common for the company to ask the outsourcer to invite the second and third candidates to join its contract labor pool.
The Changing Workplace
Bruce Morton, chief marketing officer of Allegis Group Services, says today “employees have a different social contract with their pay masters.” He says if you met a traditionalist, the generation that is the parents of the baby boomers, or boomers themselves, they will say, “‘I work for X. I’m an engineer.’” Today, however, “people have more loyalty to their skill than their company. They will say, ‘I am an engineer. X corporation is enjoying my company right now.’”
Adds Teresa Carroll, senior vice president of the MSP practice globally for Kelly OCG, “Today people manage their own careers. They find their own access to job opportunities and they promote themselves.”
Morton adds that contingent status has “lost its stigma.” Before, if someone said they were a temp worker, “people assumed they couldn’t get a proper job. Today it’s a career and lifestyle choice.”
In addition, Scott Fraleigh, vice president of managed services for SourceRight Solutions, notes many people have been downsized in this recession. On August 4, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 8.4 million involuntary part-time workers. Like it or not, they are adding to the contingent labor pool.
Why some employees don’t want to work full time
“People with marketable skills have the ability to work on a contract basis,” explains Fraleigh. For example, engineers with cloud experience and coders proficient in HTML5 and/or mobile technologies are in top demand. Fitzgerald of Kelly OCG adds professionals and subject matter experts are also hard to find. “In today’s economy their skills are more important than ever,” she explains. “People chose this track because they feel like they are in demand.”
Demand means premium pricing. Often these specialists can command higher paychecks moving from project to project than they could working for one company.
Many of these people are married to a spouse who has a full-time job with health care, notes Carroll of Kelly OCG. That gives them the freedom to have a less traditional career path because their spouse is providing the needed benefits.
Another group that typically doesn’t want a full time job is the millennials, people born from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. Wright says these workers “don’t want the same job for 30 years. They want to be challenged. They want access to technology. For them, contract work is an attractive alternative, especially for IT professionals,” he points out.
Dave Barthel, executive director of Human Capital Solutions for Allegis Group Services says today the average worker changes jobs multiple times by the time he or she is 28. “Changing job is exciting for this group. They want to be on the bleeding edge,” he explains.
Technology made this possible
Technology is accelerating the move to contract labor status. Today independent contractors can visit virtual communities to see the opportunities available. “People are more connected than ever before with LinkedIn and Facebook,” says the SourceRight executive. These online communities make it much easier to suss out the next opportunity.
Next: How do MSPs actually work? What benefits do the outsourcing buyers actually receive?