How you can thrive in today’s changing workforce

Group of Multiethnic Cheerful People Applauding

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) For millions of workers, the fixed schedule full-time 40 hour workweek is a thing of the past. Looking for greater flexibility and new opportunities, job seekers are turning away from the traditional employer-employee relationship and eight to five work day.

The number of temporary workers, independent contingent workers, and freelancers is increasing to record highs in the U.S., defying previous economic trends. A study from MBO partners, a support system for independent professionals, found that all U.S. independent workers totaled 17.7 million in 2013, a 10% increase from MBO’s first study in 2011. More than 24 million are forecasted to be independent by 2018.

In Canada, the change has not been as dramatic, but the number of temporary, independent contingent, and “casual” workers is increasing. Their share of the workforce increased by 1.1% from 2008 to 2013.

Why It’s Changing

Coming out of the Great Recession, temporary or independent work gave those who may have lost their jobs an opportunity to get back on their feet or overcome extreme hardships. It’s also given them an opportunity to prove themselves as valuable to an employer.

According to CareerBuilder, “42% of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers” this year — an increase from 40% in 2013. And, the staffing industry is expected to grow by 6% in 2014 and 7% in 2015.

“Many businesses use temporary workers as a way to find great talent,” said Michael Kreiling, general manager for the Express Employment Professionals offices in Winona, MN; and Eau Claire, Medford, and Menomonie, Wisconsin. “The more you impress them the more opportunities they will create for you.”

Opportunities in the Changing Workforce

As Kathryn Dill with Forbes writes, “…for many, temporary work isn’t simply a means to an end — it can also be the end goal.” Check out Forbes fastest-growing temp jobs, based on data by CareerBuilder.

According to AOL Jobs, the highest paying temporary jobs range from $26.44 to $46.69 an hour.

In a white paper released by Express Employment Professionals, “America’s Changing Workforce and the Rise of the Contingent Employee,” job seekers pursue temporary work so they can either work when they want, they need a flexible work schedule, or they want to earn additional money for bills, leisure, or retirement. If you are looking for these types of opportunities, then temporary work may be an answer.

Advice from the Experts

Jessico L. Culo, owner of the Edmonton, Alberta Express office, recommends that workers with long-term temporary jobs build relationships with the people you work with and the firm that represents you while on assignment.

Ronnie Morris, who owns an Express office in Jackson, TN, advises, “Little things like being on time, being willing to work over-time, learning multiple jobs, adhering to company policy, and possessing a willingness to train others are important things that can distinguish you on the job and make you a more valuable employee.”

Working to Live

It’s clear that more workers are turning to temporary and independent contingent work. And if you’re looking for permanent work, temporary jobs often lead to full-time permanent employment. Job seekers who are willing to take on different temporary jobs and make those jobs work for them will come out on top. To thrive, be open to learning new skills and show the company you are a fast learner. Be adventurous and take advantage of the changing workforce. You never know where it will take you.

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