The labor market is down, but contingent work is up.
That's what Scotty Parrish is observing in her role as senior vice president of client services at Randstad Sourceright's Total Talent Solutions. As employers face lingering safety concerns, hiring stagnation and shifting work arrangements, they're tapping contingent workers more often.
Randstad Sourceright supplies large organizations with contingent and full-time work placements. "We are seeing companies come to us and companies respond in surveys that they are reaching out to contingent labor where they haven't in the past," Parrish said.
Call centers are among the employers expanding their recruiting efforts to temp workers, tapping flexible talent where worker demand outpaces supply, according to Randstad Sourceright Global CEO Michael Smith. Randstad data shows that call centers have more than doubled the number of job advertisements deployed in April 2020 by April 2021, evidencing increased need for workers. The boost in demand has also elevated compensation for call center representatives, Randstad found. In the same time period, compensation rose 5%.
These trends are likely motivating other employers — including those in IT, Smith said — to spring for contingent workers. But there are other factors that employers could be considering, Parrish said.
Many companies are still determining how they will operate post pandemic. Parrish said she's seeing companies debate the details of hybrid work arrangements, especially as workers vary in how confident they feel about the safety of in-person work.
Contingent work allows employers to be more agile amid the uncertainty of the current business environment, Parrish said. "Things are so up in the air and unpredictable. A lot of organizations are using contingent labor for that reason alone."
Employers aren't necessarily giving up on full-time positions, however. Some employers are pivoting contract workers into full-time roles. This isn't a new model, said Parrish, who has been in the talent acquisition business for 25 years. "We always see a group of clients that have workforce planning that's met with a temp-to-hire model," she said. But recently, companies Parrish works with are moving contingent workers to full-time much more quickly. "We are seeing that every day," Parrish said.