Today’s New York Times had a story about the surge in temporary employment. Whether through temporary employment agencies, extending the hours of part-time employees, or hiring freelance help… more companies are expanding their labor force in a way that allows for a “wait and see” approach to the recovery.
Implications: Similar moves have been made following recessions over the past couple of decades, and have become somewhat of an early indicator that a recovery has begun in the labor market; more “committed” full-time employment and call-backs for laid-off workers typically follow. You might look at these employment alternatives as one example of what McKinsey calls, “Organizational Agility.”
Quite some time ago, I read a book called “Free Agent Nation” by Daniel Pink. As the name implies, it suggested that employment in the future might not look like the traditional labor-worker relationship of the past, where a worker had one employer and companies had their own labor force. Rather, the author suggested that in the future, many people might look more like independent contractors than employees… moving from company to company as their skills suited an organization’s current need.
Tomorrow’s job seeker might not look for a place to work. She/he might be looking for clients. Tomorrow’s company might not look for employees… but rather, they might be seeking short-term specialists for a specific project, or limited-time production run.