Hiring Forecast Is Partly Sunny

Robyn Tellefsen | January 18, 2011

If you spent any part of 2010 pounding the Internet pavement, you know that jobs are hard to come by. But things are looking up. According to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast, 13 percent of employers expect to hire part-time employees this year, and 24 percent plan to hire full-time, permanent employees. And the largest growth is projected for temps and contractors – 34 percent of employers reported that they will hire contract or temporary workers in 2011.

It’s really not surprising that temp jobs are on the rise, given the uncertain economy and a desire on the part of employers to save money on payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, insurance, and benefits. But being a temp or contractor confers benefits for you, too – even if they’re not medical.

Become a Temp
If you want to become a temp, you’ll need to head down to a local staffing agency and pass tests that evaluate your software skills and typing speed. Once that’s done, you can usually get a job in a matter of days. If your computer skills are up to snuff and you’re not picky about assignments, you could even have a job in a matter of hours.

Temp jobs typically range from one-day assignments to those lasting four months or longer if you get in good with the company. If you like meeting new people and traveling to different offices regularly, temping could be a perfect fit.

The Beauty of Temping
Temping is a great way to make cash quick while you’re looking for another job, but don’t burn bridges in the meantime. Do a good job, and the company will ask for you again. Do a bad job, and once your temp agency gets wind of it, it may not send any more work your way.

Plus, as a temp, you can get an inside perspective on the organization and see for yourself if it’s a place you want to work full time. The powers-that-be are watching, and they could decide to keep you on as a full-fledged employee. And even if the company isn’t one where you see yourself long-term, keep your networking hat on. You can still use the experience to garner good references or even leads for a job at another company.

Temp vs. Contractor
Neither temps nor contractors are employees of the company, but there is a difference between the two. Independent contractors (like freelance writers, for example) are hired by a company to do a specific job or project. Contractors are 1099 workers, which means they’re responsible to get their own insurance and pay their own taxes. (But don’t think contractors can skip out on paying Uncle Sam – the company that hired them reports the amount paid to the IRS, so there’s no getting one over on the man.)

Temporary workers, on the other hand, are W2 employees of a staffing agency. The temp agency acts as the contractor, covering temps’ liability insurance and workers’ comp, and withholding taxes.

When you become a temp, you can get your foot in the door of a decent organization, make some fast cash, and buy yourself time while you figure out what you want to do long-term. What have you got to lose?

-Robyn Tellefsen

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