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The Protect Laid-Off Workers Act: Breaking It Down

The recent raft of layoffs in the U.S. technology sector has brought renewed attention to the federal WARN Act. Passed in 1998, the legislation required employers with more than 100 workers to provide those employees with at least 60 days’ notice when a business will be closed or mass layoffs are planned. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is still regarded as the golden rule in Silicon Valley for such situations.

But there’s a significant caveat that comes with the legislation: The WARN Act doesn’t cover contractors. That’s a significant provision given the number of independent contractors working today – not just in Silicon Valley, but across the country. In light of the recent handling of layoffs at Twitter and certain other companies, California has proposed the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act – legislation that would not only build in new layers of worker protections but also extend to contractors. Here’s what it means to those involved:

How the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act Affects Contractors

Under California’s proposal, the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act includes several significant differences that essentially beef up the federal WARN Act:

  • All employers laying off more than 50 workers at a time must give employees 90 days’ notice
  • Employers would be prohibited from pressuring workers to sign waivers, nondisclosure agreements or non-disparagement agreements in exchange for severance pay
  • Employers in violation of the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act would be liable for civil penalties in addition to back pay
  • Contractors would be covered the same as permanent employees under California’s proposal

The Protect Laid-Off Workers Act is a well-intentioned reaction to recent events that will add safeguards that should be welcomed by anyone who values worker rights and, specifically, the contributions of the contractor community. The legislation attempts to correct a loophole in the WARN Act that couldn’t have been anticipated 25 years ago, before the flourishing of the contingent labor market. For contractors, the proposal would help reduce or prevent unexpected gaps between gigs while keeping employers from strong-arming cut employees into giving up their rights.

How the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act Affects Employers

As deserving as independent contractors are of the protections tied to California’s proposal, the legislation would dramatically alter the contingent labor economy – and in a way that could not only handcuff employers but also bring unintended harm to workers.

A company that employs dozens of contractors across multiple departments may be reluctant to spearhead new initiatives under the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act, which would add layers of complexity and risk to building timelines around the contract terms of contingent laborers. A notice requirement of 60-90 days under the new legislation would eliminate much of the flexibility from 3- and 6-month contracts, for instance. The effect could stifle innovation and even discourage the use of contractors, which no one wants.

Similar legislation doesn’t end at California’s borders. In New Jersey, the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (better known as the NJ WARN Act) takes effect in April, and other states may soon follow suit with their own versions. In the days ahead, state lawmakers will need to take special care to strike a balance that protects contractors while ensuring the continued health of the contingent labor market.

For more insights on the labor market, check out the PeopleCaddie blog.

sgruenThe Protect Laid-Off Workers Act: Breaking It Down

AI Candidate Search Evolving Hiring Strategies

Working in human resources and talent acquisition today means facing the same fears that spooked auto workers back in the 1970s and ‘80s: advanced machinery that automates manual tasks – and threatens the livelihood of the humans currently performing them. Artificial intelligence may be a modern marvel and a potential boon to companies’ bottom lines, but the hum of progress sounds far more pleasant from the chair of the executive or board member than it does, say, inside the walls of the HR department. Or does it? There’s no doubt that AI is changing how organizations search for and evaluate prospects — AI candidate search is being tested in corporations around the world — and it seems just as certain that these changes will affect the jobs of hiring professionals.

But when? And in which ways, exactly? Should the folks currently tasked with talent acquisition be polishing up their own resumes right now, or might AI’s influence simply make their professional lives easier? Let’s first consider how companies are using AI and the changes the technology has already had in the industry.

How Companies Are Currently Leveraging AI Candidate Search

Sifting through resumes is a long, labor-intensive process, and humans simply aren’t equipped with the processing power to give equal consideration to hundreds of applications for a single job. That’s where AI steps in, identifying attractive prospects based on keywords, phrases, and other pre-selected qualifiers and narrowing down the field to a number that allows for more scrutiny and critical thinking from hiring professionals.

But that’s just the simple stuff. AI is capable of much more: If you have a LinkedIn account, for instance, chances are you’ve been engaging with artificial intelligence in a talent acquisition setting for years. Job recommendations that are emailed to members and contacts from recruiters are generated or facilitated by AI. It’s even possible that the message from a hiring professional was written by an AI-powered chatbot. And it should be noted: These advances have yet to curtail opportunities for human beings in the talent acquisition space, which is thriving like never before.

The Future of AI in Hiring

Consider a scenario: An Atlanta-based company is in urgent need of filling its director of marketing role, which has very specific specifications. The organization wants the new hire to work in the office 2-3 days a week, which immediately limits the talent pool to a 30-mile radius around headquarters. The company is looking for a specific skill set and a prospect who is interested and available, which likely indicates a contractor rather than someone already in a permanent position. AI candidate search has the power to supercharge this process, but it can’t generate those inputs on its own. Nor would any sane executive leave the ultimate decision of who to hire to a machine. What ultimately matters to the company is that AI helped its people arrive at the decision faster – and beat the competition to the ideal hire.

As industry invests more capital in AI initiatives – and companies are doing, and will continue to do, just that – the evolution of the technology can be expected to accelerate further. (The introduction of ChatGPT-4 in November 2022, for example, represents a quantum leap forward.) AI’s burgeoning capabilities will lead to the automation of more human tasks and, at some point in the future, likely lead to the downsizing of certain traditional talent acquisition roles.

But we aren’t there yet. At the same time that Meta has publicly staked its future on AI, it has cut 11,000 jobs – with another 10,000 layoffs to come. And Facebook’s parent company isn’t alone. The entire technology space is still reckoning with last year’s overzealous hiring spree, which means the “AI takeover” may manifest as more of a slow creep than a dead sprint. 

More importantly, there will always be a need for the human touch in hiring. AI can’t properly perform its function without up-front inputs from hiring professionals. Its results will need to be carefully and constantly scrutinized for biases, and the inputs adjusted accordingly. And there are complexities in hiring that even the most dynamic AI tools can’t fully account for. People will indeed need to adapt to the changes brought on by AI – but they aren’t in any danger of being replaced by it.

Interested in learning more about how you can augment HR initiatives with technology? Check out how the PeopleCaddie talent cloud.

sgruenAI Candidate Search Evolving Hiring Strategies

Step Up From Support Staff to Critical Talent

Whether explicitly or unofficially, employers have always classified their workers based on those employees’ perceived utility to the company. To be clear, this classification doesn’t fall along the lines of permanent workers and contractors, full-timers and part-timers, or staff employees and temps. It’s about value. Even if organizations no longer publicly refer to workers using phrases such as “skilled” or “unskilled” labor, they still categorize their employees in other telling ways. When technology companies think about their contract workers, for instance, they tend to label them as “critical talent” or “support staff.”

Critical talent usually includes employees who write code or provide specialized, difficult-to-replace labor that is key to driving revenue. Support staff can encompass many types of employees, but they generally are viewed by the company as being less essential than their “critical” counterparts.

What may seem surprising about this dynamic – and what should be considered most important to contractors – is that an employee’s status can shift over time. A worker who may be deemed “critical” upon hiring may find themselves in a supporting role if, for instance, the innovation project they were brought aboard to complete is suddenly decommissioned by leadership. This may be doubly concerning to contractors, who are generally considered to be more expendable than permanent workers. So it begs the question: How does a contractor go about stepping up from support staff – or, if they’re already there – maintaining their status as a member of an organization’s critical talent?

How Employers Assess Contractor Value

Generally speaking, the process companies follow when evaluating their talent amounts to a two-dimensional analysis: reviewing a worker’s skillset and examining the total expense that employee represents on the company’s bottom line. But much of the evaluation hinges on that first component.

Consider a scenario: A tech contractor is hired to shore up a hot project for which the company has high aspirations. But within two years the initiative fails to pan out, so leadership decides to reduce or eliminate the company’s investment in that area. In the meantime, the worker’s skill set hasn’t changed – and, in fact, has probably been enhanced. But those skills no longer align with the organization’s strategic priorities. This is how a contractor with specialized expertise, a worker who may be highly valued by the general market, can suddenly find themselves with a target on their back.

How to Play a ‘Critical’ Role

The same recommendations given to any worker with career ambitions or concerns about job security apply to contractors seeking to stay on the right side of the support/critical axis: take advantage of training opportunities, learn how other areas of the business interact with yours, make efforts to be a strong collaborator and team player. But returning to our theoretical tech contractor, there’s even more work that can be done.

For any specialized tech talent, it may seem to go without saying, but it is crucial to stay on the cutting edge of technology. The tech world moves quickly, and there is always new talent coming up that has more recent schooling or training on new innovations. Additionally, keeping your profile and resume updated to reflect your key skills – and any training or experience in new technologies – can be a differentiator

Equally as important, however, is periodically taking an objective look at your organization’s strategic priorities. If your own skills and experiences align with those priorities, you’re more likely to land in the company’s critical talent group. If, on the other hand, you seem to fit into your organization’s support staff, you’ll want to seek out specialized training or volunteer for opportunities in areas that are higher priorities (read: revenue drivers) to the company. Network to find mentors or advocates in departments that are more closely aligned with the company’s goals than your own department. Make your efforts transparent so that management and perhaps leadership are aware that you understand organizational objectives and are taking a proactive approach to making them your own.

Interested in learning more about PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud? Here is how talent clouds help improve a company’s HR strategy.

sgruenStep Up From Support Staff to Critical Talent

Evaluating Contractor Relationships

Many organizations today have talent needs for seasonal or project work, while others find that fluctuating business demands require a flexible, on-demand workforce. Independent contractors can be an excellent solution to both challenges. But the savviest businesses don’t simply hire contingent laborers as needed – they take measures to learn the value of those workers, identify how to best deploy them and then build a comprehensive contractor strategy that optimizes their skill sets and availability. Part of that process includes regular evaluation of a company’s strategy and looks to build contractor relationships.

The Importance of Evaluating Contractor Relationships

Most organizations that employ independent contractors already keenly understand what contingent labor brings to the table: virtually instant access to specialized, high-quality expertise. A contractor’s terms of engagement – as needed, and without the commitment and administrative overhead associated with permanent employees – help make for an affordable, flexible contingent workforce. But taking a plug-and-chug approach to contractor hiring, while possible, sells short the benefits this talent pool can deliver.

Any company that employs (or is considering employing) contingent laborers would do well to follow these basic steps toward making the most of that workforce:

  • Conduct a full-scale assessment of short- and long-term production needs, workflow projections, and staffing estimations
  • Create and curate an in-house network of trusted contractors with proprietary knowledge of your business
  • Engage a third-party hiring agency or talent cloud, such as PeopleCaddie, to recruit additional experienced, high-quality contractors

From there, consider quarterly, annual and/or end-of-term relationship evaluations with all of your independent contractors – even those you plan not to use again or who are believed to be underperformers. Sometimes they can tell you more about your business – and specifically about pain points in the employer-contractor connection – than your best contractors can.

End-of-term relationship evaluations may be the most valuable of all. A worker who has fulfilled their contract with a company will still have fresh thoughts about their employer and potentially fewer inhibitions about full transparency in a post-employment interview. They likely also will have begun or just completed the process of finding their next contract, a period during which they’re thinking critically about what they want to get out of their contractor engagements.

Questions to Ask Contractors as Part of Evaluations

So you’ve scheduled meetings with each of your independent contractors to discuss their relationships with your company. What now? Is there a standard line of questioning for each? And what do you do with all that feedback once you’ve gathered it?

Simplify your approach to independent contractor relationship evaluations as much as possible. Codify certain questions about the company, separate departments and a contractor’s specific role. Spend a little time with each contractor’s supervisor to develop a few unique questions – these can lead to key insights. Be sure to ask every contractor at the end of the conversation if they would like to discuss anything they weren’t asked about or have anything further to add. The content of questions could cover (but need not be limited to) an employee’s performance, professional aspirations, morale and more.

Compare feedback from standard (and similar) questions and home in on common themes and details. Closely examine and discuss feedback from the individually customized questions. Gather leadership and supervisors to discuss broad findings, then discuss the disparate finer points of contractor feedback individually with supervisors.

There’s no single step-by-step approach to evaluating contractor relationships, but every company can benefit from developing their own best practices. Investing time and organizing resources to ensure a robust and regular evaluation process can lead to better decisions about the contractors you hire, stronger retention rates and more productivity over time.

PeopleCaddie can help your organization develop more relationships with contractors.

sgruenEvaluating Contractor Relationships

What Permanent Employees Can Learn from Contract Staff

Stable “permanent” employment has long been the ultimate goal for employees across industries. The promise of security, insurance benefits, a pension, vacation days and sick time had been an enticing draw for anyone seeking gainful employment and hoping to raise a family, build a nest egg or simply pursue individual happiness. For as long as anyone can remember, a traditional, full-time, permanent job was a worker’s golden ticket.

But times change. Today, a staff position is only as “permanent” as an employee’s next paycheck, and the traditional perks of full-time employment have gradually been compromised – or, in some cases, eliminated altogether. Meanwhile, more companies are hiring contingent labor for skilled (and often lucrative) work, creating opportunities for more professionals to earn higher wages and build more schedule flexibility into an individual lifestyle. Permanent employees are no longer viewed as having unlocked the key to professional success. In fact, they would do well to pick up a trick or three from their brethren on the other side.                 

Here’s what permanent employees can learn from independent contractors and other temporary employees:

Reflect and Own Your Experience

Because terms of their employment tend to be finite and relatively short, independent contractors typically update their resumes more often than their permanent counterparts do. But the reality is, every worker should regularly take time out to make sure all their employer-facing materials are current.

Not only are you more likely to capture the nuances of your work contributions and avoid forgetting important details by frequently updating your full dossier, you’ll never be caught scrambling to pull everything together at a moment’s notice. You never know when your dream job will suddenly become available – or when your current role may be zeroed out.

In addition to resumes, employees should routinely update all job employment and profile platforms (LinkedIn, for example), portfolios and similar summaries of work. Updating employers, titles and dates should be the bare minimum. Be sure to include new projects, duties and accomplishments that draw attention in a quick eyeball scan or keyword search – any one of them could be a foot in the door to a new opportunity, or simply demonstrate specialized or soft skills that give you a leg up over the competition.

Build Your Network While You Work

“It’s who you know” remains a key tenet of job seekers and career climbers. Mentors, former bosses, ex-colleagues and even past reports make excellent resources for contractors seeking their next gigs, and it should be no different for permanent employees.

Keeping in touch ensures that opportunities don’t slip through the cracks and throws grist into the social mill that makes networking something more than just an icky, wholly transactional affair. Check-in with your people from time to time. Let them know how you’re doing and when you’re looking. Be sure to ask how you might help them, too. If you help a former coworker land a gig, guess who’s going to flag you when a great job pops on their radar? At the very least, when an employer follows up on your references, you’ll want to be certain the people on the other end of the phone are primed to go to bat for you rather than struggling to recall your name.

Be Open to Possibilities and Opportunities to Grow

Even workers who don’t consider themselves go-getters or corporate climbers are stuck with a reality that needs facing: employment is a zero-sum game, and those who aren’t moving forward are falling behind.

And this doesn’t only hold true for temporary employees. It’s true that contractors need to constantly reinvent themselves and take aim at new skills and certifications to open the pool of opportunities as wide as possible. But as quickly as technology and business move today, even permanent employees run the risk of falling behind the curve or becoming obsolete in a position they may have been hired into not all that long ago.

Career development opportunities, formal or otherwise, should be consistently sought out and pursued. Avoid settling in your comfort zone or becoming too one-dimensional. The goal for every working professional today should be to grow your skill set and become more nimble, allowing you to perform more tasks and onboard faster – all of which will attract more employers and give you the tools to wow them once you’re hired.

Want more tips on how to optimism your professional profile? Check out the PeopleCaddie blog.

sgruenWhat Permanent Employees Can Learn from Contract Staff

Tech Layoffs: What Do They Mean for the Gig Economy?

The exponential advance of technological innovation, often stated through Moore’s Law, sometimes gets confused with the growth and financial health of the technology sector itself. As metro areas from Seattle to Austin to Raleigh are pegged as “The Next Silicon Valley” and today’s hoodied tech barons are seemingly all but licensed to print money, it can be easy to assume that rapid expansion and hand-over-fist profits are a simple matter of course in tech. As we’ve witnessed in recent weeks, however, the industry is no different than any other – subject to developments within its space as well as the whims of the economy at large. Huge tech layoffs – either already in the books or in the offing – at Meta (previously Facebook), Amazon, Stripe, Lyft, Shopify and other tech stalwarts demonstrate what should already be well understood: Big Tech may have enjoyed a huge, decade-spanning run, but it is hardly invulnerable.

“The technology sector has a dynamic history of expansion and contraction,” economist Charles S. Gascon wrote for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, citing contractions in the tech space starting in 2001, and again in 2009. So what do the current cuts in the sector – including that of almost the entire contract workforce at Twitter – mean for the future of tech’s job market, and specifically the gig economy?

Manage Costs and React Faster

Although recent tech layoffs among pure technology companies have been undeniably severe, given what we know now, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. Driven by an eagerness to capitalize on a COVID-driven boom in demand, tech was as bold as – and frequently bolder than – any industry in its hiring. The current sector-wide downsizing is, in large part, a correction to that response.

But, additionally, tech organizations are beginning to recognize an opportunity. By trimming staff employees, these companies are making temporary sacrifices to become more flexible and efficient over time. Because salaried employees translate to greater costs (insurance benefits, paid vacation and unemployment taxes, etc.) and slower hiring and onboarding, more companies are turning to contingent labor in an effort to manage costs more efficiently and position themselves to react faster to changing economic conditions.

In its 2022 technology industry outlook, Deloitte presciently noted that tech leaders, following the patch-and-plug approach of the pandemic, now have an opportunity to “lay solid foundations for future innovation and growth.” That opportunity still exists – by leaning into a more robust contract workforce. “With more experience utilizing a hybrid workforce under their collective belts,” Deloitte notes, “tech companies will evolve their cultures, accelerate experimentation with collaboration solutions, and develop better approaches to managing tax implications.”

Contingent Labor: A Flexible Workforce

In the world of industry – and particularly within the technology space – what goes down almost unfailingly must come back up again. Even amid the current tech layoffs, most projections forecast healthy growth for the sector and more jobs becoming available over the long haul. But in the short term, the current influx of employee supply will outstrip any growth and demand. That means companies have an opportunity to target tech talent not previously available – at least not at reasonable pay – while focusing on bringing those prospects aboard as contract workers.

Why hire a coder for a full-time position, committing your organization to that employee for the foreseeable future, if the project demands only three months of work? As companies encounter the need to flex their workforce to accommodate new business or project demands, they can rely on an expanded pool of skilled, highly qualified contingent labor to fill their needs through a lower-risk work arrangement.

Whether you’re a tech business striving to grow a more agile workforce or a technology professional seeking opportunities in the industry, PeopleCaddie can help. Our proprietary platform and bustling talent network can help employers connect with contractors, and vice versa, to ensure a fit that benefits both a business and its workers.

Joining the contingent labor pool can be a great way to secure work quickly. See how PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud places knowledge workers in contingent labor positions every day.

sgruenTech Layoffs: What Do They Mean for the Gig Economy?

Navigating Quiet Hiring

Inflation is up and the economy is dragging. An ongoing talent shortage has left many companies grasping for straws, with too few quality prospects in the candidate pool and little leeway to cover new payroll commitments. Let’s face it: Employers are up against it. But they’re hardly out of options. One trend experts expect to see flourish in 2023 is the practice of quiet hiring – when companies acquire new skills without hiring permanent full-time employees.

Although this can describe retraining and moving existing employees to new positions, quiet hiring also includes bringing aboard independent contractors to fill short-term, temporary roles. If you aren’t already taking advantage of contingent labor to meet these needs, consider a few reasons why you should.

Advantages of Quiet Hiring Contractors

Corporate skills acquisition doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. If a company isn’t in a position to hire more permanent employees to meet business demand – or simply finds other options more prudent – it doesn’t have to choose exclusively between reassigning current employees or hiring part-time or temporary contractors. Why not both?

In any case, an organization should have a well-considered and consistently reviewed strategy that evaluates labor as a whole, but also develop an action plan for each segment of a workforce to optimize all available assets. Permanent hires and employee reassignment should never be ruled out altogether, but here’s why independent contractors are often a company’s best bet:

  1. Payroll flexibility and overall cost savings. Contractors are intended to be hired on a temporary basis, for a finite (and often short) term of employment. This allows companies to access specialized labor for completing seasonal tasks or ad hoc projects without committing to long-term salary or the typical overhead (unemployment insurance, pensions, etc.) associated with permanent employees. Contingent labor represents an affordable, always-available talent stream that organizations can turn on and off as needed.
  2. Answering an immediate need. Retraining employees takes time that companies often can’t afford to waste. Independent contractors are often hired for tasks specific to their skill set, which makes for out-of-the-box readiness. Even permanent employees tend to be slower to onboard than contractors, who are conditioned over time to hit the ground running at any new gig.
  3. Expanding the talent pool. The labor shortage is only part of the difficulty for companies seeking to acquire new skills. The growing popularity of contracting means more talent may be gravitating away from permanent work. Any organization that doesn’t remain open to hiring independent contractors limits its access to specialized expertise. Leave no stone unturned in your talent search.

Best Practices for Hiring Contractors

When developing your independent contractor strategy, start by identifying any task-specific demands that are beyond the expertise of your current permanent staff. This could be, say, a digital transformation or tax audit for a company that specializes in neither services. Often, staffing for these fixed-term, specialized projects calls for contractor help.

Next, weigh the short- and mid-term needs of your organization or department, and consider what portion of that workflow can and should be fulfilled by your permanent labor force. Are there seasonal or cyclical – but somewhat regular – fluctuations in your company’s production demands? Or perhaps the ebb and flow of business is beyond predictability. An in-house network that can be tapped to access trusted seasonal or on-retainer contingent laborers can help. A hiring manager may even set up recurring annual or periodic terms to lock in the best contractors.

But for unanticipated business demands, many companies greatly benefit from working with a third-party talent cloud. PeopleCaddie can not only connect your organization with high-quality contractors who have the specialized expertise you seek, but also handle the administrative duties tied to those workers and help you build and maintain a viable independent contractor strategy that flexes with your business.

Get started and reach out to a PeopleCaddie representative to discuss your contingent labor needs today.

sgruenNavigating Quiet Hiring

Banking Sector Layoffs May Drive Need for Contingent Labor

The boom of the job market may finally be going bust. As inflation, ongoing supply chain issues and a volatile overall economy have put the squeeze on industries everywhere, more businesses have been forced to trim their workforce – almost 30,000 jobs in September (an increase of 46 percent from August), according to one analysisAmong the sectors hit hardest has been banking, as a period of growth, salary increases and generous bonuses has recently been followed by banks tightening their belts including strategically trimming executive salaries. As such we could see banking sector layoffs in 2023.

Now, firms like Goldman Sachs are reportedly laying off mid-level bankers in high-profile divisions, which some see as a barometer for the flagging health of the job economy in the industry.

Yet even as banks dial back in response, they must also react to new opportunities and the changing landscapes of their existing ones in order to properly position themselves to move forward. That could mean bringing specialized teams and talent on board to handle short-term projects, or creating entirely new groups that can’t be fully staffed by moving around current employees. Even during lean times and amid rounds of layoffs, many banks will be driven to tap into the contingent labor market.

Why Banks Need Contingent Labor Even Now

One survey comparing priority issues in the banking sector found that cybersecurity was the top concern (26 percent) among respondents, followed by regulatory change (14 percent) and digital transformation (13 percent) as third- and fourth-highest. What do these elements have in common? They are tied to regulatory changes that are soon due to take effect – changes that will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish with banks’ existing staff alone.

Issues such as compliance related to data privacy are make-or-break for banks of all sizes and growth expectations, and many of those organizations lack the in-house expertise, specialized skill sets, or sheer manpower needed to efficiently and effectively respond to these orders. Regardless of the current economic challenges facing the industry, especially with potential banking sector layoffs on the horizon, a significant number of banks will need to lean on outside help – including consultants and contingent labor – to meet their priority goals and compliance requirements.

Optimizing a Contingent Workforce

Every bank has an individualized set of circumstances that requires a different deployment of labor than another – a strategy may need to be adjusted quickly to accommodate new regulatory changes, economic shifts, or business priorities. That’s where contingent labor – and the inherent flexibility it provides banks and other organizations – truly shines.

By building a strategy that includes a balance of staff and contingent labor – which may differ within each line of business or support function – a bank has the ability to fluidly react to specific situations with qualified specialists on short-term or open-ended contracts. PeopleCaddie has the network and platform to help your bank or organization find quality, vetted contractors who don’t require the riskier and more expensive commitment of hiring full-time staff. Reach out to let us help you start building your contingent labor workforce and strategy right away.

Looking to employ a contingent labor strategy? Here is how PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud can help.

sgruenBanking Sector Layoffs May Drive Need for Contingent Labor

Gen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor

Developing a contingent labor force with workers from younger generations isn’t exactly an unfamiliar concept to companies today. Gen Zers and Millennials now reportedly outnumber Baby Boomers and Generation Xers in the independent workforce, and members of Gen Z in particular are considered to have the flexible mindset and entrepreneurial spirit that aligns so well with contract work. But not every Gen Zer has experience as a contingent laborer, and many are generally curious about contract opportunities and the lifestyle they can provide. That’s why we’ve developed Gen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor. 

More specifically, younger workers may feel an urgency to better understand independent contracting in this moment, with a volatile economy undermining job security across practically every sector. With that, below is PeopleCaddie’s “Gen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor.”

Contract Work Isn’t Second-Class Status

Many members of Gen Z already intuitively understand this. Social media, influencer culture and new technologies are now empowering people to create thriving side hustles or even build their own businesses, and Gen Z has been on the forefront of that development. Similarly, independent contracting essentially amounts to running your own business – some contractors even establish LLCs – which comes with a cachet that didn’t always characterize freelance work in the past.

There’s Almost Always a Fit for You

Whether you’re interested in ongoing contract work, a month-long project or something in between, chances are there are companies in need of contractors that have opportunities that accommodate your timeline. Concerned that you aren’t experienced enough to qualify as a candidate? Many organizations are seeking non-entry-level prospects, but some are open to considering workers with only 2-3 years of experience. Depending on a company’s needs, someone working on a Master’s degree, like an MBA, who is focused on a specific niche may be the right fit.

Marketing Yourself Can Pay Dividends

By letting employers know that you’re interested in developing certain skills or gaining experience in a particular area, you can make yourself stand out among what may be a sea of candidates. Market yourself in your portfolio projects, note whether you can code, explain other skills that you bring to the table. Maybe a hiring manager will choose a different candidate this time around, but by highlighting your abilities and interests, you’ve planted a seed that may lead to a return call when that employer has an open role that suits your profile best.

Contracts Can Be Used as Stepping Stones

Members of Gen Z have shown far more interest as a demographic than past generations in finding and working with companies whose values align with their own. If you’ve identified an ideal employer but struggled to draw attention as a job candidate, consider taking on contract projects at other companies that can help you build the skills or experience to improve your stock with your dream organization. Reaching your goal may take some time, but short-term projects allow a contractor to expedite the process.

Are you a Gen Zer interested in joining the contingent labor workforce? Check out PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud.

sgruenGen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor

Gig Economy Forecast: A Look Towards 2023 and Beyond

To properly forecast the gig economy, we need to first look at the current state of the U.S. economy. In a word, it’s volatile.

Inflation levels are at some of the highest rates we’ve seen in four decades. After raising interest rates by three-quarters of a point for the third time this year in September, the Federal Reserve boosted the overall borrowing target range to its highest level since 2008. Some experts predict at least one more rate hike before year’s end, and others warn that the economy will “crumble” if the Fed doesn’t stop raising rates. One analysis forecasts that the cost of certain goods and services won’t drop even under rising rates.

For all the market’s volatility, we know this: Business borrowing costs are tied to the Fed rate, which means companies should be expected to remain cautious about overextending themselves and likely will target cutting costs over growth in the near future. Rounds of layoffs have come on the heels of the post-pandemic hiring spree, and more are likely to be on the way.

It’s impossible to know how any given business will react to these developments, but given what we know about how companies have handled lean or unpredictable economic times in the recent past, we can reasonably forecast the gig economy ahead of the coming year.

Why Contract Labor Now?

The pace of hiring is slowing. Rising inflation and borrowing costs have squeezed many organizations in the short term – but business doesn’t simply stop when the economy turns crummy. Companies with sufficient runway understand that this moment may be an opportunity to pull ahead of struggling competitors. Others just hoping to hang on may find that they cut payroll too deeply. But taking on new staff would be a costly, and potentially risky, commitment.

Instead, expect many of them to turn to contract workers. With contingent labor already making up 30 percent of large organizations’ workforce, it’s likely that we’ll see that figure continue to grow as businesses seek more of the flexibility independent contractors offer.

Strength in Contract Workers

Not only are more workers than ever recognizing the benefits of contract work, but recent layoffs are also prompting many more to consider it for the first time. During a period when organizations are seeking ways to carry out business as usual without being forced to commit to W-2 employees, the contingent labor talent pool may be rising to an all-time high. That should make every company – even those attempting to streamline – stand up and take notice.

At Google, for instance, CEO Sundar Pichai has said he wants to make the company 20 percent more efficient – including potentially shedding labor after the tech giant overexpanded its headcount and became “slower.” Although Pichai spoke of downsizing labor, companies like Google still need to balance agility with sheer power – a workforce capable of handling big initiatives.

As SAP notes, “Organizations that face a shortage of local talent may end up outsourcing jobs internationally or contracting parts of their processes to a third party. If they lack in-house skills, they might also hire contract workers or turn to managed services to supplement their workforce. Organizations are also turning to contingent labor to right-size the number of employees on the payroll and give them the ability to flex. Using contingent workers or SOW-based contracts offers businesses the flexibility to act nimbly when business requirements change.”

And those requirements will change. Inflation is up and the economy is down, but they won’t remain that way indefinitely. Organizations that have properly prepared a strategic workforce plan – one that includes a significant helping of contingent labor – will be best positioned to take advantage when business opportunities eventually (and inevitably) arise.

For more insight into the evolving gig economy, check out PeopleCaddie’s blog.

sgruenGig Economy Forecast: A Look Towards 2023 and Beyond