It seems today’s tech labor market doesn’t follow the old adage of “what goes up, must come down.” Deemed one of the fastest-growing job markets by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, even with a two percent year-over-year growth, tech has yet to reach its peak. According to the August BLS employment data, the unemployment rate for tech professionals is 3.1 percent, a rate that falls well below the national unemployment average of 6.1 percent. Yet, despite low unemployment numbers, demand for tech professionals is still growing. Dice’s semi-annual hiring survey found 70 percent of hiring managers are on the hunt for new tech talent during the second half of this year. But, hiring managers aren’t just in the market for full-time hires.
Recent BLS trends indicate the job market is seeing a significant uptick in temporary staffing. In general, August was a big month for temporary employment; 13,000 new temporary jobs were added, marking 8.2 percent year-over-year growth. Yet, this“boom” in temporary employment has particularly been seen lately in the tech industry. In 2013 alone, 39 U.S. staffing firms made over $100 million in revenues generated from temporary tech staffing, according to a Staffing Industry Analysts report, and this number is only set to increase. Government statistics project overall tech employment to grow by 17.6 percent between 2012 and 2022, an estimated 1.63 times faster than total employment.
With tech professionals becoming more and more in demand, companies could be forced to seek short-term fixes in the form of temporary tech positions as a means to counterbalance the dearth of full-time candidates. Lacking the upper hand in the job market, companies do not have the flexibility to choose from a multitude of skilled candidates or push back when tech professionals demand for higher salaries and better benefits. Rather than being the ones doing the rejecting, hiring managers are finding more often they are the ones getting rejected. In Dice’s hiring survey, 32 percent of hiring managers found more tech candidates were turning down offers as compared to the first half of the year, and this was in large part due to compensation packages they believed were either more competitive elsewhere or didn’t meet their expectations. Thus, for companies in search of tech talent and fast, temporary tech professionals act as a viable solution.
Another factor which could be contributing to the increased push for temporary tech staffing is companies have a lot of new projects,but don’t have the right talent with the right skills on board to lead the charge. As a result, temporary tech professionals are brought in to complete the projects. Not only does temporary staffing meet the heavy work load demand, but it gives companies latitude before making a commitment to a professional who has yet to prove his or her value to the organization.
It seems like technology has and will continue to outpace other sectors in both permanent and temporary tech staffing.With higher workforce demand and higher potential revenue, it’s up to staffing agencies and tech professionals not committed to a full-time gig to take advantage.