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Is 2013 the Year of the Temporary Staffing Surge?

If you’re considering hiring temporary staff for the first time this year, you’re not alone. Demand for temporary staffing may reach unprecedented levels in 2013.  In this article, HT Staffing CEO Mark Turpin provides localized insights into the temp staffing trend, as well as advice on how companies can join the movement for themselves.

According to the American Staffing Association, growth in temporary staffing continues to outpace the overall labor market. The organization references a recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing 7.2 percent more temp staffing employees are on the job in October 2012, compared to one year ago (which, at the time, was already at an all-time high level). Now that the momentum has started, the surge is expected to rise.

Austin seems to be matching this national trend in staffing temp employees, especially in sectors like technology in which the Austin Business Journal reports newcomer General Motors Co. (opening a new technology center in Austin this month) is working hard to attract talent away from other technology heavyweights like Hewlett-Packard Co.

“With a battle for tech workers gaining momentum in Austin in recent months, HT Staffing has certainly seen strong growth in temporary staffing. Other staffing company managers have told me they are seeing a strong uptick in business as well,” says Mark Turpin, CEO/co-founder, HT Staffing.  In addition to a temporary staffing surge, Turpin sees strong growth in executive search and technical contract work as well. “All signs point to a solid staffing market in Austin and statewide throughout 2013,” he adds.

Experts at Staffing Industry Analysts predict that, nationally, temporary staffing in information technology fields will be at an all-time high in 2013, topping out at about 116 of its historical peak. Other sectors predicted to reach historical highs this year include industrial (112 percent), engineering (111 percent), clinical/scientific (104 percent) and marketing/creative (106 percent). reports that much of the surge could be attributed to a fear of commitment due to uncertainty about the U.S. economy, health insurance legislation, and business tax changes. For these reasons, many large companies have embraced the strategy of keeping a percentage of workforce temporary in order to remain flexible and adaptable to the quickly changing economic and political landscapes that exist today.

For companies interested in dipping their feet into the temp staffing pool this year, Turpin recommends keeping two very important points in mind.

First, understand the limits and requirements of temporary staffing versus hiring independent contractors or full-time employees. Hiring contractors has its benefits, but the law may not always be on your side. Be very careful not to misclassify someone as a contractor, when he or she actually meets the legal definition of an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That generally has to do with how much control the company has over how and when the work is being done, and how critical that work is to the operation of the company.

Then, look for an agency that specializes in areas that are new territory for your company. If you’re considering temporary staffing because you’re a startup or are expanding services into a brand new field, a staffing agency may be your best resource. As we pointed out in our two part series, “FAQs for Evaluating a Staffing Firm,” it’s important to find a firm with specialty divisions in your specific target area.

“Feel free to ask for examples of previous similar searches and the results of those searches to help decide which staffing firm fits best,” concludes Turpin. With the right guidance, companies can leverage the temporary staffing surge with the fullest strategic intention.


Image:  Courtesy of Staffing Industry Analysts