warehouse worker
warehouse worker

To hire or not to hire? In today’s tumultuous economy, this is a common question on the minds of employers. After all, many businesses are still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Add in inflation, rising rates, and a competitive job market and the answer isn’t always cut and dried. 

According to LinkedIn, in 2022, employers posted 26 percent more openings for contract positions between May and November than in the same period the year before. 

Yet regardless of what’s happening in the market, the right people are always key to your overall success. When the economy is unstable, hiring temporary, or contract, workers can be a smart move. Their benefits – both to your organization and to the job market overall – go beyond the basics. 

they offer flexibility

During volatile times, it’s crucial that your business can respond to changes in the marketplace in a swift and efficient manner. But adjusting your staffing models is easier said than done. After all, fluctuations in demand can throw a wrench in the best laid plans. 

Here’s a prime example: this summer, travel is back. Yet long delays and canceled flights for weary travelers have become the norm, even as the season peaks. In order to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, companies are relying on temporary staff to see them through the increased demand.

And they’re not alone. Throughout the year, different industries will be faced with the same concerns, from agriculture during times of harvest, healthcare at open enrollment and retail businesses over the holidays. Temporary workers can help employers respond quickly to shifting demand. 

Contract hires can also offset market fluctuations. They provide a cost-effective solution to your needs without the risk of overstaffing or understaffing as things change. 

they help the talent pool

A surprising benefit of temporary workers is their positive impact on the workforce overall. To start, certain vulnerable groups, such as low-skilled workers and women are more likely to apply for contract positions. A variety of reasons contribute to this, including a desire for flexibility to care for family members or to work on a college degree. 

By hiring from these groups, your organization will help to promote social inclusion and fight inequality, as well as provide access to employment for disadvantaged populations. This not only benefits the talent pool overall, but potentially your ability to hire top candidates. If your company shows they value underrepresented populations, you may prove more attractive to the workforce in general. 

According to our 2023 Workmonitor report, 77 percent of respondents consider their employer’s values and purpose important.

It’s also important to note that some contract workers may simply be between careers – or not yet sure where they want to land. In fact, temporary work can actually be a means to finding permanent employment, particularly among younger generations such as Gen Z and Millennials who place a much higher emphasis on work-life balance than other age groups in the workforce. This means a temporary hire may actually have just the specialized skills and expertise you’re looking for.

Overall, hiring temporary staff can help them gain the experience, skills and references they need to add lasting value to the talent pool. 

they’re good for the bottom line

Lastly, temporary workers are generally good for your organization. To start, they’re cost effective: you’ll save money through reduced labor costs and stay flexible when scaling operations as needed. They also minimize long-term employee commitments, which can be particularly impactful to your bottom line.

Aside from cost-saving benefits, temporary staff allow your organization to adapt and survive during economic downturns or uncertain periods by maintaining business continuity. In fact, more contract positions today are middle or senior management roles, bringing necessary skills and abilities to your permanent staff at a higher level.

These high-level positions work to keep projects afloat and possibly avoid outsourcing, which can quickly deplete your budget. Beyond continuity, they can even help you remain in growth mode by complementing the strengths of your existing teams. Plus, when you work with a trusted partner like Randstad, you’ll connect with a qualified pool of candidates to streamline the hiring process. This cuts down on the time and expense it takes to find the right people. 

As we navigate today’s dynamic job market and economic uncertainty, organizations like yours face unprecedented challenges. Temporary workers can provide employee support, economic flexibility and even job opportunities for various groups. This makes them a smart solution in volatile times. 

about the author
Katie Birkelo
Katie Birkelo

Katie Birkelo

senior vice president, randstad usa: western us

As a Senior Vice President, Katie serves those people Randstad entrusts with their candidates and clients. She supports the growth and development of Randstad's leaders, staffing professionals and their impactful presence in local communities. With nearly 20 years of staffing industry experience, Katie began her tenure with Randstad in October of 2018 — when she immediately fell in love with Randstad's human-first approach. Her in-depth understanding of the world of work positions her to help talent realize their true potential and clients to sustain their success. Katie is an alumnus of Western Colorado University and has been featured in the Denver Business Journal's 'Outstanding Women in Business' list in 2015 and 2016 and as a Denver Business Journal '40 Under 40' nominee in 2014 and 2015.