Four ways temporary staffing helps businesses navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19

As we enter into the new year, now is the time for HR leaders to rethink workforce management, and look toward technological...

Heather Cox

25 February 2022

3 min read

As we enter into the new year, now is the time for HR leaders to rethink workforce management, and look toward technological solutions that offer greater flexibility and agility. Drawing upon expert industry research, unique Indeed Flex datasets and Indeed’s unrivaled job market data. The research highlights how national businesses are adopting new processes, technologies, and mindsets in order to prosper and gain a competitive advantage during times of uncertainty.

COVID-19 has led to an increased reliance on temporary staff as a cost saving measure

As many industries ground to a halt (hospitality), others (such as online retail and distribution services) have grappled with an increase in demand and shifting patterns of consumer behavior. This led to economic uncertainty which called for businesses to rethink a multitude of processes, including the need to build more flexibility into their recruitment strategies.

Temporary staffing gives businesses exactly that; flexibility to quickly scale up and down in line with fluctuations in demand as well as a means for replacing members of full time staff who are on sick leave. Job postings throughout the year on Indeed Flex reflect this notion. After the initial hiring freeze during the lockdown, we have seen more and more businesses turning to temporary staffing. We are even experiencing our highest recorded number of shifts in Indeed Flex history.

The temp market is recovering quicker than permanent job roles

As the lockdown eased and the nation began to re-enter work, this graph from KPMG and the Recruitment Employer Confederation (REC) highlights how temporary staffing has been more resilient against permanent placements, bouncing back at a quicker rate from lockdown. In fact, August saw temp billings growing the quickest rate since Dec 2018.

COVID-19 has served as an accelerator for businesses to digitize their recruitment flow

The pandemic has served as an accelerator for all businesses to address their digital strategies and recruitment flows. Online interviewing, digital assessments, and digital candidate management were seen as a luxury before the crisis. Now, they are imperative to business survival. For any business, recruitment today looks very different than it did several months ago. However the advantages of this technological evolution mean organizations are now able to access pools of talented workers more efficiently than before. For this reason, it seems “the new normal” for recruitment will be sticking around far longer than COVID-19.

Workers are turning to temporary opportunities to get back into work after Covid-19 

Research highlights the importance of temporary work for people looking to find work and earn money quickly, as well as for enabling progression into permanent roles. Thirty-six percent of people in the US have done temporary, contract, or freelance work during their lives. Most of those workers specifically chose to do this to find work quickly, while a slightly fewer number of workers used temporary work to earn money quickly.

This year has highlighted that agility and resilience are key not only for business success but for survival too. Organizations that have quickly adopted new technologies and embraced change have prospered, whereas those unable to react with speed have fallen by the wayside. It has become abundantly clear that employers can no longer ignore staffing technology. Technology is truly paving the way to a brighter future, and as the vaccine continues to roll out across the nation, we hope to see as many businesses as possible getting back on their feet and rebuilding. We have never had an opportunity like this to optimize our processes, redefine how we work and emerge stronger than before.