Wood Words

Temporary and Contract Employees are Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Spoiler alert:  After reading this post, the way you think about how work gets done in your company will never be the same.

We’ve all heard of the proverbial “supertemp” – the accomplished executive with an ivy league MBA (and a résumé that makes recruiters weak in the knees) who works on a temporary or consulting basis because he chooses to.  In decades past, executive and professional temporaries were a rare breed; however, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article by Jody Greenstone Miller and Matt Miller, project-based executives are growing in number – and are on the verge of changing how business works.

Gone is the stigma associated with temporary work among the corporate elite.  Today’s smart leaders are now trusting temporary executives and professionals to do mission-critical work.  What’s driving the shift?

  • For talent, project-based work has become more attractive than the alternative.  Technology has made it easier than ever to connect in meaningful ways, corporate job security is dying on the vine, and professionals want a better work/life balance.
  • As more professionals choose temporary work, companies find ways to accommodate them.  Moreover, leaner management teams (due to a lengthy recession), a lack of interest in paying for plush benefits packages, and a  VUCA operating environment make temporary solutions more compelling for corporations.
  • New technologies, coupled with a developing market for high-end talent, are driving transaction costs down and challenging assumptions about which management skills and professional talent belong inside versus outside the organization.

According to the article, the trend is rapidly gaining steam:

  • In 2011, McKinsey research found that 58% of U.S. companies expect to use more temporary arrangements at all levels in the years ahead.
  • Sixteen million Americans are working independently today, according to research by MBO Partners. That figure is expected to rise to 20 million over the next two years.

In other words, supertemps are on the verge of breaking into the mainstream.  A few simple changes, such as portable health care, kinder tax rules for independent contractors, and a willingness to change our thinking about talent management would cause a proliferation of professional temporaries.

As a Middle Tennessee employer, it’s time to learn how your company can benefit from using professional temporary and contract workers.  Wood Personnel is ready to help.  We can work with you to intelligently deploy supertemps (including mid-level managers, engineers and IT professionals) with highly specialized skills to:

  • complete mission-critical projects;
  • capture additional business;
  • test new business concepts;
  • and capitalize on new opportunities as we emerge from the recession.

With over 20 years of experience, and an in-depth knowledge of our local market, Wood Personnel is uniquely qualified to help you leverage the rise of the supertemp.  Contact us today to learn more.