Companies Look to Temporary Workers to Fill Talent Shortages

May 11, 2016 – In an increasingly competitive market for skilled workers, hiring temporary and contract employees can help businesses sidestep talent gaps and remain nimble, according to a new report released by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International.

The study shows more companies will be tapping into this labor segment, with temporary employment expected to add 173,478 jobs from 2016 to 2018 – an increase of 5.9 percent. The analysis was based on data pulled from more 100 national and state employment resources.

Staying Agile

“Today, nearly three million people are employed in temporary jobs, and that number will continue to grow at a healthy pace over the next few years as companies strive to keep agile in the midst of changing market needs,” said Kyle Braun, president of CareerBuilder’s staffing and recruiting group. “Opportunities are opening up in a variety of occupations and pay levels, and this is a trend we’re seeing in a wide range of industries and company sizes.”

CareerBuilder compiled a list of fast-growing occupations for temporary employment from 2016 to 2018. The following occupations have at least 10,000 jobs available, are expected to grow six percent or more, and pay $15 or more per hour:

OccupationTemp Jobs (2016)Temp Jobs (2018)% Change (2016 – 2018)Median Hourly Earnings
Computer Service Representatives98,574104,3116%$15.27
Administrative Assistants (excluding legal, medical and executive)**69,62773,9316%$16.22
Human Resources Specialists67,95673,0948%$28.02
Construction Laborers46,48849,2266%$16.23
Registered Nurses42,26044,8856%$33.28
Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks28,12429,8786%$17.73
Computer User Support Specialists24,21825,6646%$23.27
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers21,68323,0386%$19.15
Machinists21,18722,5126%$19.38
Software Developers, Applications14,73115,6246%$46.72

The following occupations have at least 10,000 jobs available, are expected to grow at least six percent and pay less than $15 per hour (but well above the federal minimum wage*):

OccupationTemp Jobs (2016)Temp Jobs (2018)% Change (2016 – 2018)Median Hourly Earnings
Team Assemblers166,057176,6396%$13.95
Nursing Assistants32,14334,1336%$12.32
Personal Care Aides27,21728,8136%$10.10
Substitute Teachers27,15528,9737%$13.48
Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners18,06719,1986%$10.50
Retail Salespersons17,49018,5696%$10.34
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers15,30016,2486%$12.01
Security Guards13,32214,1066%$12.27
Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers12,86313,6446%$14.38
Telemarketers7,6368,0826%$11.24

In a separate Harris Poll study commissioned by CareerBuilder, 47 percent of employers reported that they plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2016, up slightly from 46 percent last year. Of these employers, more than half (58 percent) plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into full-time, permanent roles.

“Temporary employment benefits both sides of the labor market. Hiring temporary and contract workers helps companies stay flexible and adapt quickly to changing market demands,” said Mr. Braun. “For workers, it opens doors for those who want to utilize various skills, build relationships with different organizations and explore career options.”


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These figures coincide with similar findings by The Execu | Search Group. Its ‘2016 Hiring Outlook: Strategies for Adapting to a Candidate-Driven Market’ report found that 26 percent of hiring managers surveyed plan to increase hiring of temporary employees in 2016.

In addition, a recent Adecco study, ‘Definitive Guide to Building a Better Workforce,’ found that 67 percent of companies use contingent labor to enhance their workforce and close talent gaps. The study surveyed 536 C-suite executives across the U.S. regrading the types of talent they need, skills that are most difficult to find, how they are using contingent labor and progressive recruiting methods to enhance their workforces, employee retention techniques and more.

The report found that best-in-class companies are 44 percent more likely to increase the size of their temporary workforce in the next 12 to 24 months. The report also found that 80 percent of employers agree that the U.S. skills gap is a real challenge, and it provides insights into how different companies conceptualize and address this gap in talent. Part of the reason for the increased use of temporary workers: companies are having difficulty finding quality talent.

A Stumbling Block to Hiring 

ManpowerGroup’s ‘Talent Shortage Survey’ found that 32 percent of U.S. employers reported difficulties filling job vacancies due to talent shortages. Globally, the study found that the percentage of employers experiencing difficulties continues to rise, increasing from 36 percent in 2014 to 38 percent in 2015.

According to the latest ‘Recruiter Nation Survey’ released by Jobvite56 percent of recruiters cite the lack of available skilled talent as a key stumbling block in hiring. The report, which polled over 1,400 executive recruiting and human resources professionals, also found that 95 percent of recruiters anticipate equal or increased competition for talent over the next year.

“As the job market continues to improve we are hearing from clients that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to both find and retain high quality employees,” said Edward Fleischman, chairman and CEO of The Execu|Search Group. “It is our hope that the 2016 Hiring Outlook report will help employers better understand this candidate-driven job market and provide them with the tools to build and sustain a strong workforce.”

Companies also continue to add permanent staff, with 36 percent of employers planning to add full-time, permanent employees in 2016, according to CareerBuilder‘s annual job forecast. Nearly half of employers (47 percent) plan to hire temporary or contract workers.

The report found that financial services (46 percent), information technology (44 percent), and healthcare (43 percent) are expected to outperform the national average for employers adding full-time staff. Manufacturing (37 percent) is expected to mirror the national average.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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