Four years ago about 1.35 million Americans were employed in temp jobs. Now, a recent job report shows that this number doubled to 2.7 million. Why? Employers just aren’t willing to hire long-term workers, reports The Winnipeg Free Press.
Temporary workers normally receive low wages, little-to-no benefits, and weak job security. The average salary for temp jobs is $36,000, reports Simply Hired. Full-time workers make an average of about $50,000. This growing trend stems from the “lingering uncertainty about the economy,” adds The Winnipeg Free Press. In order to escape the impending expense of providing medical coverage for permanent workers, employers have decided to hire more temps.
Across America, temporary work has become a mainstay of the economy, leading to the proliferation of what researchers have begun to call “temp towns.” They are often dense Latino neighborhoods teeming with temp agencies. Or they are cities where it has become nearly impossible even for whites and African-Americans with vocational training to find factory and warehouse work without first being directed to a temp firm.
Strangely enough, temporary jobs are growing in fields that do not typically offer such positions. Lawyers, doctors, and even information technology specialists are extending their use of temporary workers. The medical field, in particular, is expected to grow 10 percent in temporary positions. The shortage of doctors and nurses has coerced hospitals to seek help from temp agencies.
Wal-Mart has also been disproportionately hiring “flexible associates,” as it calls them. But really, they should be called disposable workers. “You can hire 10,000 people for 10 to 15 minutes,” says Bob Bahramipour, CEO of Gigwalk—a temp recruitment agency. “When they’re done, those 10,000 people just melt away.” ProPublica says, besides Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Nike, and other consumer goods companies and retailers are giving rise to the number of blue-collar temp workers and, in areas where these minimum wage temps live, “temp towns.” Schools—in order to escape retirement benefits for their employers—are also hiring temp workers or substitute teachers.
“There’s been a generational shift toward a less committed relationship between the firm and the worker,” said Ethan Harris, a global economist at Bank of America.
Research shows only 27 percent of jobs that are categorized as “temp to permanent” truly lead to a permanent position.
Companies feel much safer in hiring temps; abstaining from employing too many permanent workers can save the company from a decline in revenue. “A heavy investment in long-term employment is not a cost all companies want to bear anymore,” adds The Winnipeg Free Press.
Some business executives argue that the increase of temporary positions in the labor market is more beneficial. It allows for workers to gain valuable skills and experience for the next prospective permanent job. What do you think?