Why a contingent workforce is the answer to the blue-collar worker shortage

April 15, 2021 Casey Nighbor

The blue-collar worker shortage has long been a problem for the American economy. Despite the attention the issue has received, there have been few successful solutions. The move toward a more contingent workforce is happening now. This shift will lead to greater pressure on businesses to identify and hire contingent workers who can get the job done.

The U.S. workforce shortage—especially for blue-collar workers—is expected to continue through at least 2030, according to a study by The Conference Board. Factors driving the blue-collar workforce shortage include:

  • The baby boomer exodus
  • Dismal growth in the working-age population
  • Disappointing recovery in overall labor force participation
  • Men without a college degree are less likely to work
  • Large increase in disability rates
  • More young adults are avoiding trades, pursuing college instead
  • Young adults are much less likely to be in the labor force

By being open to contingent workers, businesses tap into talent that they might not otherwise gain access to, especially those who may have specific knowledge and training that could be beneficial to their operations.

Many businesses are realizing that the quickest and most efficient way to get specialized talent is to hire them as contingent workers. Depending on future needs, these workers can eventually be transitioned into full-time positions.

Offering greater flexibility

Flexible working arrangements can also be an asset for a new generation of workers. They may have been recently separated from full-time employment or are reconsidering their career options.

People often work on a part-time or temporary basis so that they can pursue other interests or gain experience in their chosen career, with an eye on pursuing a full-time position. The primary reasons temporary workers choose to be temporary workers are:

  • As a method of finding a regular/permanent job or because I thought it might lead to a regular/permanent position, 49%
  • Supplemental income while looking for a regular/permanent position, 11%
  • Supplemental income while not looking for a regular/permanent position, 14%
  • Learning new skills/get work experience, 13%
  • Other, 13%

Expanding business operations

The current environment has provided businesses of every size and sector ample opportunity to reconsider their roles in the continued economic recovery. Businesses will focus on diversifying in order to mitigate risk: Some of them may be eager to grow their project base; others may be looking into different markets.

If businesses are considering expanding their geographic footprint or service offerings, contingent workers may be a tremendous asset during this important transition. With contingent workers, businesses can find workers with the specialized skills that they need for a particular project, without having to make a long-term commitment. 

Staying agile in uncertain times

Businesses are increasingly looking for flexibility and scalability to meet the demands of a rapidly changing economy and to take advantage of new opportunities. As the business landscape continues to change, the makeup of their workforce will need to adjust as well.

A contingent workforce allows for flexibility to adjust as needed, accommodating changes in the industry and financial circumstances that businesses will face in the future.

While every business has its own unique needs based on industry, location and other factors, contingent workers can bridge an important gap as leaders map out their plan of action. As we see more people turn to contingent work as they adapt to the current economic climate, having the ability to find workers and in the future is imperative.  

Need workers for your business? We’re here to help. SIMOS can help you build an engineered onsite workforce solution. Contact us now to get started. 

About the Author

About Casey: Content marketing manager, frequently reading, aspiring chef, failed plant mom, connoisseur of tater tots, beauty products and airplane food.

Follow on Linkedin More Content by Casey Nighbor
Previous Article
3 reasons why manufacturers should use contingent workers
3 reasons why manufacturers should use contingent workers

Every sector of the U.S. economy needed to react to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the manufacturing and logist...

Next Article
Guidelines for vaccinated employees
Guidelines for vaccinated employees

Below are the current guidance from the CDC about vaccinated people, so you can help answer questions if th...