Recession Spurred Growth of “Contingent” Workforce

February 15, 2011 ( – A report from Adecco USA notes the number of Americans working part time because full-time work is not available has doubled since the recession began in 2007, to 9.2 million.

Employers may have gotten wary of hiring permanent full-time staff, according to the report. More than 70% of employers retain the services of at least one kind of contingent worker – temps, part-timers, contractors, virtual, or on-call employees.    

According to Adecco, researchers contend that the contingent workforce will grow at three to four times the rate of the traditional workforce and will make up 25% of the global workforce by 2012. With reported shortages of “skilled” workers, employers that look to non-traditional ways of filling positions will have an advantage over those that don’t, the report suggests.  

By utilizing contingent employees, organizations can get the strategic guidance they need without having to absorb the cost of hiring a permanent, full-time employee.  

As examples, Adecco noted that an interim executive can be brought into a failing company to clean house and get things in order before moving on to his next role. A small or mid-size firm that needs to create more infrastructure and personnel processes to facilitate expansion may consider hiring a temporary human resources director who can work a day or two a week for a year or so.  

The Adecco report is here.