In the last 10 years, the job market in the U.S. has evolved to become a part of what author Dan Pink dubbed the "Free Agent Nation," with more companies turning toward temporary staffing services than ever before, Forbes reports.
According to the news source, statistics on temporary workers show anywhere from 10 million to 42 million people currently work as freelancers, making the contract staffing market a large contribution to overall employment. Businesses are increasingly seeing the value of temp workers, who can complete unique tasks, and are putting their skills to work. A recent Harvard Business Review report found that 58 percent of companies say they will use temporary workers at every level of their company in the next few years.
What's more, American Staffing Association data shows staffing companies were responsible for supplying 2.8 million temp and contract workers every day in 2011.
"If the picture you get in your head when you hear 'temp' is of a really young, really old, or unskilled person who comes in to sit at the front desk when your admin is away, it’s time for you to shake the cobwebs out of your mind," writes serial entrepreneur and angel investor Kevin Kruse. "There is an army of temps out there today who are actually super-skilled ninjas with advanced skills and strong work ethic."
Kruse stated that there were several reasons to hire temporary help. Contract workers can fill short vacancy periods, provide assistance for over-burdened full-time workers and give support during times of rapid growth. Still, these are reactive reasons to seek out temporary help. Instead, Kruse says temp work can also be used proactively by companies for three reasons.
Temps can offer specialized skills that may not be found among current workers. Bringing on an experienced worker for a specific job requires less ramp-up time than a permanent hire who must be trained for the job. A new worker can also add an outside element to a project, which could provide the fresh ideas that are needed to really get something off the ground.
Perhaps best of all, temporary workers often turn into strong full-time staff members. Having the opportunity to see an employer in action before committing to them gives companies assurance the worker is the right hire.