This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 27, 2005

Hiring of Temporary Employees to Increase

Several factors are converging to stimulate an increase in the use of temporary employees in a wide range of occupations. This global movement will be felt across all occupational sectors, across industry lines, and across national borders.

Over the past few years, a weak economy has forced employers to operate with the absolute minimum number of employees necessary to run their businesses. Executives---and stockholders---have been delighted with the productivity increases. However, the costs may outweigh the benefits. Productivity achievements have been accomplished by people who remained with employers after layoffs and downsizings. They pushed hard---using technology, but also time, human energy, and intellectual capacity.

Result: While productivity numbers are up, workers are burned- out. They’re tired and feeling out-of-balance. Stress levels are high. Dedicated workers feel trapped in their jobs. In many organizations, bosses don’t seem to appreciate workers like they did in the late 1990s when the economy was hot. Feeling taken for granted, these workers are ready to leave, to escape to another employer where they will be appreciated. Recent surveys suggest that as many as 85 percent of today’s workers are dissatisfied enough to move to different jobs in the next 12 months.

As they leave, these employees will have to be replaced--- quickly. With employment at minimum levels, a back-up supply of replacement workers simply is not available; staffing redundancy just does not exist. Solution: Employers will depend on temporary staffing firms to provide workers they need while they search for the people they want to hire. In many cases, temporary workers who perform well will be hired, giving new energy to the temporary-to-permanent placement process.

Employers in many fields will experience increases in business, generating a need to hire more people. Hesitant to make long-term employment commitments in an uncertain economy, they will hire temporary workers to provide flexibility until new economic conditions are more firm.

Temporary employment growth may not be evident in unemployment rates. The employment growth during this transition period, using temporary workers instead of permanent hires, will mislead some to believe mistakenly that we are experiencing a jobless recovery.

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