It’s no secret that the job market is changing.
There’s a global movement towards a contingent workforce – meaning more non-permanent placements – and Australia is on board. In fact, casual employment in Australia has grown from 15 per cent of the workforce in 1984 to 25 per cent in 2016, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the journal Social Indicators Research.
This means, industries are not only using the contingent workforce to find quick-fix staffing solutions or to help manage costs (although these are definite benefits), but temporary placements are deliberately incorporated into long-term staffing strategies.
Here’s why. Put simply, the contingent workforce offers one key benefit that employers and employees alike can’t look past – flexibility.
In today’s competitive market place employers need to manage their costs closely. And, a contingent workforce allows them to align the cost of employing staff with the number of sales their business makes. This means, employers have the flexibility to increase and decrease staff numbers as required.
A contingent workforce also offers employers with the potential to outsource (and save) on people engagement – things like insurances and compliance.
Plus, employers are realising the advantages of being able to source temporary workers with more specific skills for particular projects. After all, business activity can fluctuate, with seasonal changes or peak production times, and strategies change meaning swings in personnel requirements.
What’s more, being able to fill short- and long-term contracts quickly – when permanent staff take maternity, annual, cares or sick leave for example – gives employers greater peace knowing targets will still be met.
So, which industries are using temporary workers the most? According to a recent Hayes study Temporary Workers: A Permanent Solution? it’s the public sector (28.9 per cent), construction, property and engineering (21.9 per cent) and resources and mining industries (17.1 per cent) that have adopted the contingent workforce model.
The advantages of a flexible and contingent workforce for employees are many. Workers are taking on multiple roles adding diversity to their skillset, while at the same time focusing on key areas or industries of personal interest.
Employees also enjoy greater opportunities to boost their experience, skills, portfolio and networks as they move around.
Meanwhile, flexible work arrangements can enhance the work/life balance of temporary workers as they enjoy greater control over when, why and for how long they want to work.
Sure, there may be feelings of job and income insecurities for some employees in a contingent workforce, but according to the Hays research 96.3 per cent of temporary workers surveyed say they are willing to take on another temporary assignment in the future. Plus, 23 per cent say temporary assignments are their first preference.
Who is a typical Australian temporary worker? In the past it might have been females in entry-level positions. However, Hays reports 43.4 per cent of temporary workers are men and 56.6 per cent women. What’s more, the majority of temporary workers surveyed were aged 30 and over and say they are experienced/non managers.
So, what does the contingent workforce mean for recruitment agencies?
As Australia looks ahead to contingent workforce management, the key consideration for recruitment agencies is payroll funding.
In most cases, recruitment agencies are responsible for paying temporary or contract staff. This can mean a gap between meeting your payroll commitments and when the end customer pays.