Employers' use of temporary, contract workers continues to increase
- Staffing levels for temporary and contract workers increased 2.2%, according to the American Staffing Association. The rise is the fastest increase in year-over-year growth in four years for the week of May 7 to 13.
- Although month-over-month the ASA Staffing Index declined slightly, by 0.1%, it stayed at a rounded reading of 97 for the week. Since the index began in 2006, the week’s numbers represent the highest in its history.
- For the 9th consecutive period, the index’s four-week moving average increased to a rounded 97, representing an historic high for the same period. Rising at its fastest pace since 2014, the four-week average increased 2.4%.
The use of contingent workers continues to increase at a rate some say is moving faster than employers can adjust. Freelancers are flooding the market and, according to some data, could make up 50% of the talent market by 2020.
As more individuals work independently, more may be open to it, with one study reporting that 94% of those surveyed were open to non-traditional work arrangements. That means that businesses soon may be competing for gig workers just as they do for traditional staff members, however. In fact, the pressure already may be on; some are offering contract workers full benefits, similar to those of regular staff members. Government action may be on the horizon, however, as Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has voiced some interest in looking at regulations for gig workers.
But as the gig economy flourishes, employers still struggle with classification. A recent decision by the California Supreme Court outlined a new test to determine whether or not an independent contractor is in fact an employee — and it is heavily weighed in favor of assuming workers are employees. The three-pronged ABC test assumes that workers are employees unless they meet specific criteria. While that test only applies in California, it certainly goes to show that courts will not allow employers to play fast and loose with classification rules.
- Staffing Industry Analysts TEMPORARY, CONTRACT STAFFING EMPLOYMENT UP 2.2% OVER YEAR: ASA STAFFING INDEX