Employment Models: Nontraditional Working Arrangements on the Rise

Employment Models: Nontraditional Working Arrangements on the Rise

Mike Roberts

The workplace is noticeably different than it was a decade ago. What’s changed since then? Well, lots. Not only has the world become more connected and “smaller” because of internet and mobile technology, but also today’s workforce is now comprised primarily of millennials—a generation that increasingly prefers and expects nontraditional working arrangements.

These factors, in many ways, have enabled a perfect environment for the “gig economy” to transform into something that’s more than just a trend. They’ve also caused many in leadership positions to shift their attitudes on part-time workers and contract workers. In fact, according to a recent study by Addison Group, a professional services and staffing company, 94% of hiring managers are more willing to hire temporary contractors compared to 5 years ago.

Following the Great Recession, many organizations were hiring part-time workers or contractors. However, at the time, motives for hiring such workers seemed mostly connected to mitigating risk and reducing costs rather than tailoring employment models to the expectations of the workforce. In this post, we’ll take a look at some data from the Society of Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) report, “Business and Human Capital Challenges Today and in the Future” as well as data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to inspect these trends.

Employment Models: Now Vs. 10 Years from Now

More than 300 human resources professionals were asked What type of employment models do you currently use, and what type do you expect to use in the future?

As explained by SHRM: “The survey findings suggest that many organizations will attempt to shift to the use of different, less traditional employment models in the coming decade. Whereas currently 86% of the HR professionals surveyed said that their organization used a traditional employment model that provides employees with specific job roles, duties and responsibilities, this number dropped down to 60% when predicting that this model would be used in the next 10 years.”

changing employment models
What’s more, while 19% of professionals reported the use of nontraditional employment models in 2015, 40% projected they’d be in play at their organization in the next 10 years.

Aligning well with the data above was another question: Over the next 10 years, how do you expect your organization’s employment status to evolve?

rise in part time workers
Across the board, HR professionals expected each category of positions—full-time, part-time, contract, and intern—to increase. But let’s focus on the numbers for part-time and contract employees. Perhaps the projected increases are more than just a result of organic growth in the company’s workforce. It is likely that the changing mindsets of hiring managers and acceptance of nontraditional working arrangements has influenced these numbers.

The Rise of Part-Time and Flex Workers

Broader economic data supports the rise of part-time and flex workers. As shown below, the number of people working part-time for noneconomic reasons has been rising steadily for decades. This took a slight dip around the time of the Great Recession, likely because people were working part-time for economic reasons.

part time workers for noneconomic reasons
Another data point to consider alongside this is the number of people holding multiple part-time jobs (with no primary full-time job). As shown below, this has been trending upward generally for the past ten years.

gig economy and multiple jobs
We predict this trend will accelerate in the coming years, with new companies adopting the Uber-type business model, relying on part-time or contract workers who often hold multiple jobs. Signs are pointing to the fact that we will see a jump in this number in the not too distant future.

The Future of Employment Models

The Addison Group’s survey cited three main reasons hiring managers are open to part-time workers: reducing the overhead associated with a full-time hire, a quick solution to under-staffing issues, and finding someone who can have a dedicated focus to pressing short-term projects.

It will be interesting to monitor the impact of both Millennials and new business types on employment models as we continue to move through the decade. How will Millennials in leadership positions in coming years play a role in this? We’ll also be keeping an eye on how this will influence recruiting strategies and employer branding. Stay tuned!

Interested in revving up your recruiting engine and driving performance forward? Check out our recent eBook, “How to Rapidly Improve Your Quality of Hire.”

quality of hire

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