The job market is booming, unemployment is at an eight year low and salaries are ticking higher, all of which bodes well for job seekers. One area that is expected to see continued strength as companies grabble with filling open positions: demand for temporary workers.
“We have full employment in a lot of places which means for open positions there isn’t a warm body to do the job,” says David Dourgarian, Chief Executive of TempWorks. “The way it affects the staffing industry is it prevents them from growing.” According to FlexJobs, the number of temporary workers has increased nearly 50 percent since the recession and in 2015 alone, the temporary workers market grew 6 percent.
While it may be an ideal time for job seekers looking for a temp job, it’s important to recognize that not every industry is created equal. Some fields are more in demand for temp workers while others may not need as much.
Healthcare, accounting, IT, hot areas for temp workers
So where can temp workers land a new gig? According to Dourgarian, healthcare is one area of the market where there is a lot of need for temp workers. There is also demand for temp workers in information technology, accounting and administration. Any industry that is seeing growth is likely looking for more temp workers while ones that are facing slowdowns aren’t. Take the oil industry for one example. With oil prices plummeting there isn’t going to much need for temp workers. But in healthcare with baby boomers aging there is a lot of demand for temp staffers. “Temporary jobs are attractive to employers because they give them a chance to get a specific set of skills and expertise, for a set period of time, without having to onboard a traditional employee,” says Brie Reynolds, Director of Online Content at FlexJobs. “It helps companies adapt quickly to their changing industries and markets, and there are definitely tax and cost benefits for companies.”
When it comes to temporary work, job seekers can approach it in two ways. Because temp work is often for a limited amount of time they can work on projects through a staffing company or they can use the temp position as a way to get a foot in the door. Time is money and companies are looking for employees who can quickly get up to speed. Temp work is a perfect way for someone to showcase their skills and get noticed. That could easily turn into a full time job if the temp worker plays their cards right. “In the white collar segment employers want to convert temp workers to full time employees as quickly as possible,” says Dourgarian. “As the CEO of a software company I occasionally have recruiters’ source candidates and I want those candidates to put down roots as quickly as possible.”
Turning temp into full-time
According to Reynolds, workers who want a temp job to parlay it into a full time job should look for language such as temp to perm in the job description. That signals that the company is looking for a permanent employee if things work out. She says it’s also ok to ask the staffing company or during the interview process if there is a possibility the job will become a permanent one.
At the end of the day, job seekers thinking of going the temp route have to make sure it is really what they want. On the one hand you will have the freedom to choose the projects you want to work on. Not to mention it exposes you to a wider variety of clients and companies. But on the other hand if you are worried about the fact that the projects do end and you aren’t guaranteed more employment than temping may not be right for you. You’ll also have to cover your retirement savings and paying for any health expense if you remain a temp worker. “As long as you feel like you can handle changing jobs more frequently, and handling your own healthcare and retirement benefits (which temp jobs do not usually offer), temporary work may be a great fit for you,” says Reynolds.