It seems like only yesterday the Great Recession hit that left millions scrambling for employment and wages: any job and any company. The world, so highly in the clouds, with inflated mortgages for those that could afford them collapsed. Even wealthy homeowners were shuddering and running as their homes were foreclosed. Many ran up debt so high, they couldn’t even afford to stay in rental properties and sadly found themselves homeless, jobless, and penniless. It was a dark time not only for the United States. but the whole world over. The world seemed doomed from the moment the stocks plummeted and layoffs were handed out.

What was a company to do when, in the years to come, the economy started to pull through and recover? Were they to risk permanent Hire only to possibly lay off employees by the thousands again? Will they be able to afford another round of severance packages?

They took our jobs!

This is where contingent employment began to soar.

Where employers would normally rely on the recruiting efforts of their HR team, they can now supplement their workforce with temporary labor that accounts for about 26 percent of the workforce and is expected to grow 23 percent through to 2020. While that doesn’t seem like a big number in comparison to the rest of the country’s population (which is approximately 322,762,018) the fact that the use of temporary hiring agencies, especially here in North Carolina, is something that can prove rather staggering in the long run.

Companies are finding the benefit of bringing contingent labor for short term or long term projects as it allows for a fast-changing talent pool that can be implemented and easily eliminated in a matter of seconds without the due process of following HR policies and procedures to levy the reasoning of terminating a labor force.

Gun for hire

But when is the benefit of temporary labor and contracting going to stop? When will workers begin finding steady long-term employment without looking over their shoulder and wondering if the day they arrive will be the last day on the job? The sad truth is, while it's saving the company time and money not having to recruit for themselves, it’s costing many workers job security and quality of life.

Another issue aside from very little job security are limited options in home or auto loans as a permanent job gives you security and also gives a bank or a mortgage provider the confidence that you will be able to pay your mortgage monthly and on time. With no stable work history aside from contingent work, whether by temporary hiring agencies or contracting, life isn’t so great in the long run.

The halfway home of employment

So, in the end, what is it that businesses could do to counter this epidemic rather than fall into the same folly many other employers are taking up? Considering that most jobs performed in the past can be accomplished by one person rather than several, the use of cross-training and streamlined work practices like LEAN Manufacturing and Six Sigma could alleviate the issue of having to spend countless millions of dollars on retraining several contingent employees to perform the work.

Through cross-training, not only is more value added to the employee, there’s a better chance of retention and possible promotion from within the company. Perhaps, if the work is permissible, consider Work From Home opportunities for qualified applicants to levitate issues of maintaining permanent office space to accommodate to any growing labor pool. Ultimately, until companies realize that there’s more desirability of hiring workers, contingent employment will be a mainstay in the constantly wavering workforce of today.