Contingent workers are people who work on a non-permanent basis and includes freelancers, temps, part-time workers and others that don't have full-time status. Since the beginning of the recession, the number of contingent workers has grown substantially.
The Wall Street Journal has two articles today on the contingent workforce, presenting both the good and bad of this growing trend. Temporary Workers and the 21st Century Economy covers executive temping and the placing of talented, highly sought after people in short-term positions. The article is positive about this shift, suggesting we embrace and encourage it. Key quote:
"The truth is that this surge in temporary workers is not only good news for the economy, it's the future of the 21st century labor market."
Working Two Jobs and Still Underemployed sees this trend as a problem and presents the downsides. It points out that since the recession started the number of people working part-time jobs has doubled to 9.3 million workers - and many of these folks are underemployed and not happy. The article states:
"Many people who had comfortable full-time jobs with benefits and advancement opportunities now are cobbling together smaller jobs often at lower pay ..."
The trends driving the shift towards a contingent workforce started well before the recession and will continue with the economic recover. We agree with the Journal that this is a "profound reordering of the employment structure."
This is a big topic and a key reason we are forecasting increasing numbers of personal businesses and self=employed workers. We will cover this in more detail in future articles.