Is Temporary the New Permanent?

Posted by Richard Jacobson

There is a fundamental shift occurring in the workplace and the insurance industry is no exception. Industry-wide, the traditional employment model is being modified as the use of temporary workers continues to rise. According to the BLS, the penetration rate has reached an all-time high of 2.06%, with the industry bringing on more than 235,000 temporary employees throughout the past year. At Jacobson, we have experienced this trend first hand as the demand for our temporary suite of services continues to grow.

Much of this shift can be attributed to a need for flexible, highly-skilled professionals to fill a growing skills gap. As mentioned in my recent post discussing the difficulty faced in securing insurance talent, the BLS is reporting that only 26.67% of the current insurance workforce is under the age of 35. In fact, the median age is closer to 45. As the workforce continues to grey, organizations are looking to temporary employees to fill the gaps.

Is temporary the new permanent?Temporary workers open the door to cost-effective, time-sensitive solutions to specific business needs. These employees often require minimal ramp up time and are able to take on special projects that permanent employees may not have the time nor the expertise to tackle on their own. Organizations are learning to leverage the skills of these temporary workers to complete necessary projects while maintaining a lean core of traditional permanent employees.

The myth that contract employees have just settled for temporary work is just that. These professionals often enjoy the flexible lifestyle and diversity of projects that come with interim assignments. Project-work also appeals to individuals who enjoy focusing on niche business problems and using their unique expertise and skills.

As the industry’s skill gap continues to expand and the demand for highly skilled individuals grows, I believe the hiring of temporary workers will remain a priority for many companies in the insurance industry. With an Intuit report stating that more than 40% of workers in the U.S will be temporary, contingent employees by 2020, the traditional model of employment is certainly changing quickly. How do you think this shift will affect your organization?