While most employers prefer full-time employees, more than half are currently using independent contractors and expect themselves and others to use more in the future.
According to a new national survey sponsored and developed by the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative, the Markle Foundation, Burson-Marsteller and TIME titled ‘Workforce of the Future’ looks at how companies are coping with new employment models such as the growth of contingent and contract work and the On-Demand Economy. The survey was conducted by research firm Penn Schoen Berland (PSB).
According to Workforce of the Future Survey, a majority of all employers, 56 percent, say having a full-time employee makes it easier to accommodate the ebbs and flows in work volume and report that contract workers are less loyal or invested.
Conversely, employers cite using independent contractors both for the flexibility of hiring workers with specific skills as the need arises (90 percent), as well as for cost-saving purposes such as taxes and benefits (86 percent).
Still, when presented with the tradeoff, most employers (58 percent) say full-time hires are better for their company because they provide more value over the long-term despite having to pay more up-front on taxes and benefits.
Key findings from the survey are:
“More than 80 percent of surveyed employers who use contingent workers do so because it allows them to quickly adjust to changing workforce needs or to hire people with specific in-demand skills,” said Markle CEO and President Zoe Baird.
“This makes it all the more important to ensure all workers have the skills they need in today’s ever changing labour market, whether they are full-time employees or contingent workers. A more highly skilled workforce, one that can easily find pathways to train and retrain, is critical to enabling everyone to see themselves in the digital economy.”
“The consensus that held the 20th Century social contract together is coming apart,” said Bruce Reed, co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative. “While companies prefer full-time employees, more and more are using independent contractors to reduce costs, and two-thirds say providing those workers benefits is someone else’s responsibility.”
The Workforce of the Future Survey also reveals insights regarding the On-Demand Economy, defined for respondents as an industry that encourages consumers to share the use of goods and services rather than own them individually.
Employers are both familiar with (71 percent) and favourable (68 percent) towards the On-Demand Economy, with 35 percent of employers saying they will use and provide more On-Demand Economy services in the next five years.
While the survey reports clear sign indicating, traditional employment is still the most common model governing the workplace, there are definite changes to the traditional model as a result of emerging workplace trends, which will impact the workforce of the future.
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