- Demand for contingent workers remains strong, despite a year-to-year hiring decrease, according to data released by the American Staffing Association (ASA) on Friday.
- Employment of temporary and contract workers decreased by 3.4% in the second quarter of 2019 compared with a year ago, according to ASA data. The year-over-year comparison was against an 18-year high for the quarter in 2018, the ASA said.
- U.S. staffing firms employed 3.1 million contract and temporary workers a week in Q2, keeping the number above 3 million for 21 consecutive quarters, according to the association. Growth in the industry has been constrained by talent shortages and a tight labor market, said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and CEO.
Demand for contingent workers continues to be high. More employers are turning to contingent workers as a source of talent that allows them the flexibility to adjust staffing levels to meet economic fluctuations. Contingent workers are proving to be sizable contributors to the economy — contributing about $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy — according to MBO Partners. If anything, contingent staffing is likely to expand, as long as employers can find much-needed skills and workers continue to be open to the idea of working independently.
However, the skills shortage is much more severe than originally thought. According to Gartner Inc.'s Emerging Risks Survey released in January, the talent shortage jumped from third place to first place as an emerging business risk this year. Therefore, even as the demand for talent remains high — including contract, freelance and temporary workers — filling openings with skilled talent will continue to be a greater challenge for employers in 2019.
Contingent work is one way employers have addressed skills gaps among their employee base, but with gaps even in this area employers may end up having to find alternative solutions as well. Training and upskilling workers is another tactic that could help employers survive the talent crunch.