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North American Temporary Worker Survey: Key Takeaways

The 2021 North American Temporary Worker Survey, conducted by SIA, has been released. It aims to answer the question: how do contractors and consultants decide whether to accept an assignment? 

In this survey, SIA evaluated 1,700 temporary workers to see what matters most to them when seeking out new jobs. 

Here’s what we learned from the results.

Money Matters

It should come as no surprise that the pay rate was the number one driving factor behind deciding whether or not to pursue an assignment. Temporary workers will go where the money is good and avoid jobs with pay rates beneath what they feel their time is worth.

This finding reflects the age-old truth; workers go where the money is. With the modern proliferation of gig workers, temporary contracts as short-term as a single grocery run have become commonplace. 

Simultaneously, awareness of the treatment of temporary workers has risen, leading to clashes between gig-based agencies and their staff.

Meanwhile, more traditional temporary workers operating as a standard contractor, temporary W-2, or other payment schemes maintain their place in the corporate world. 

Temporary workers are hired to serve a specific purpose, bringing their skills to bear on a particular problem and move on to the next when their project completes.

Adjusting the Equation

While pay rates are the number one determining factor in whether or not a temporary worker will accept an assignment, the amount of money necessary can be influenced by other factors. 

These factors include:

  • Location of assignment. Second only to pay rates, the location of the assignment is of significant importance to most temporary workers. The longer the drive or commute, or the requirement to move, makes an assignment less attractive, and the employer must offer a higher pay rate to attract those temporary workers.
  • Company culture. Modern social media, nuanced discourse, and awareness of the internals of various companies have led many temporary workers to study the structure, diversity, culture, and ethics of working with a given company. Companies with inferior cultures or a poor reputation find it harder to find temporary workers to fill gaps or work on specific projects.
  • Work/Life balance. Now more than ever, people value their time on leisure activities, with family, and simply on recharging. Vacation time is especially valued in industries and projects where “crunch” is a significant issue. Temporary workers are often given little recourse, so they appreciate assignments where work/life balance is given extra attention.
  • Training. A small but significant portion of temporary workers cites the availability of training as a driving factor for choosing an assignment. These workers want each project to increase their skills, open doors and present them with attractive challenges. They tend to grow bored quickly and want each step in their career to improve over the last.

The more money on offer, the less each of these factors becomes an issue. Conversely, the lower the wages, the more important each of these become. Balancing these scales is crucial for a company looking to hire temporary workers.

Wages and Ages

To a certain extent, the demographics of temporary workers affect which of these factors is more critical. While money is always the primary driving factor, the survey indicates that older professionals emphasize assignments that match their skills, while younger professionals focus on tasks that grow their skills instead.  

Likewise, higher-paid temporary workers tend to work on assignments that suit their existing skills, while their lesser-paid counterparts aim to augment their skills as additional value to take from their roles.

All of this is logical. 

Temporary workers with experience want to leverage that experience, get paid what they’re worth, and work on projects that value them. Conversely, younger and lower-paid temporary workers are more willing to gain knowledge and connections while working for less.

The key takeaway is, of course, that money talks. The higher the wage, the more likely a company will attract skilled workers with the experience necessary to complete an assignment with excellent results. Other non-monetary compensation must be offered where money is limited, including aligning with skill level, focusing on work/life balance, and training to further their career.

ITAC Solutions specializes in finding high-level talent that is familiar with trending technologies. Our recruitment processes can help you get ahead of the oncoming surge in hiring. Contact ITAC today for an individualized consultation.