More businesses turning to contract workers, survey confirms

From the rise of sites like Elance and oDesk to the opinions of workforce researchers and even the anecdotal evidence of knowledge workers on the ground, evidence is mounting that the future will feature a whole lot more independent and contract workers. Now one more survey is supporting this story of the rise of the so-called gig economy.

At the start of each new year, jobs site CareerBuilder polls several thousand HR pros and hiring managers about their outlook for the year ahead when it comes to hiring contract and temporary workers. And just like the last three years, the survey this year found a steady uptick in the number of businesses planning on hiring contract staff, with 36 percent responding they will hire such workers in 2012. That’s up from:

  • 34 percent for 2011
  • 30 percent for 2010
  • 28 percent for 2009

Certainly plenty of these temp positions may be traditional seasonal workers taken on to deal with the summer rush at a resort or as short-term fillers when an employee is out on maternity leave, for instance. But the steady rise in the number of contract employees firms plan to take on does support the argument that lean economic times are opening more and more business’s eyes to the advantages of agile hiring practices.

“Employers are relying on temporary and contract workers to support leaner staffs,” commented Eric Gilpin, president of CareerBuilder’s staffing and recruiting group in the release accompanying the survey. But he also noted that many firms plan to move contract workers to full-time roles if and when the economy picks up.

Do you foresee most employers reverting back to full-staff when the economy finally picks up?

Image courtesy of Flickr user troubalex.