inflation and contract staffing

Contractor Market Is Immune to Fed Policy

Inflation is the current buzzword and bane of the business world, as the Federal Reserve continues to go to great lengths to stifle spending with borrowing rates we haven’t seen in over a decade. More grimly, those figures are only projected to go up in 2023, with some estimates as high as 5.75 percent – which would represent the highest rates in more than 20 years. The skyrocketing increases – the seventh consecutive rate hike, if you’re counting – would seem to put companies in a difficult position to retain talent and complete existing projects, let alone grow new business. And while wholesale cuts in the technology sector, among other industries, would seem to support that notion, organizations need not forgo staffing key initiatives or freeze hiring based on the Fed’s maneuverings. In fact, now may be the best time for your business to level up – at a time when competitors are skittish and often seeking to downsize. How? By hiring looking at the contractor market.

Inflation, Downturns, and Contract Staffing

The job cuts described in recent headlines have mostly been made up of permanent workers and full-time staff. The hiring boom of early 2022 proved to be a reach for some companies, with many organizations now reacting by deciding to scale back in the face of what many believe to be a looming recession.

But the economy and job market are fickle, and the business climate in different sectors (and even among different companies within a sector) may dictate widely divergent approaches to hiring. The economic pendulum always swings back, and the organizations that remain nimble and ready to scale up or down based on market changes and their own growth plans will be in the best position to take advantage in the moment. This is where contingent labor shines.

Independent contractors allow businesses to access specialized talent as needed, without committing long-term resources to staffing. Companies can turn the talent pipeline on or off, based on immediate and short-term foreseeable needs, by working with a hiring agency or talent cloud (like PeopleCaddie). Avoiding unemployment insurance and other overhead associated with permanent employees, organizations can tap contingent labor to move forward with business initiatives and make ground on competitors, often even during lean economic times.

An Opportunity for Independent Contractors

With more companies thinking creatively and proactively while the market is down, employees who are part of the contractor market may have a better chance of being hired and landing gigs that otherwise might have been out of reach. Consider that some companies might be less willing to commit to a full-timer lacking experience than a contractor with the same background. Independent contracting can be the foot in the door an employee seeks at a certain business, or a path to working on a specific competency that will help build out their skill set.

Employees concerned about job security (especially given the recent layoffs we’ve witnessed) shouldn’t fear independent contracting. These aren’t the old days. The vast majority of employment today is at will, which means even “permanent” employees are no less or more likely to be cut loose than a contractor. 

Neither should workers view independent contracting as an all-or-nothing proposition. By remaining open to both full-time work and contract gigs, an employee leaves the door open to every potential job opportunity in what has become a tighter hiring market. Why not cast a wide net – and possibly even consider contracting on the side, or for multiple organizations – to hedge against staffing volatility?

Rising inflation and a slowing economy don’t have to spell gloom and doom for business – or for employees. Independent contracting can be a viable solution for both sides.

Interested in contract work? Download the PeopleCaddie app now to become part of our talent cloud.

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