IT Workers Finding Temporary Empolyment at a Healthy Rate

March 7, 2013

IT jobs are out there for the taking – and not just on a permanent, full-time basis. A recent survey from CareerBuilder indicated that tech employment is going strong on a temporary basis as well.

Customer service representatives were the third-largest area in temp employment in 2012, the data showed, with a total of 76,445 people now holding down jobs, up 19 percent since 2010. Computer support specialists ranked 12th with 16,197 workers and another 19 percent increase, and computer programmers were 13th, employing 11,487 people – again, up 19 percent.

Temporary employment is a large piece of the puzzle these days. CareerBuilder's report found that 40 percent of employers plan to hire temps in 2013, a modest increase from 36 percent a year ago. Of those employers, 42 percent plan to transition at least some of their temps into full-time roles.

"More companies are turning to temporary and contract workers to meet evolving market demands and quickly scale up their businesses," said CareerBuilder's Eric Gilpin. "For job seekers, it's a great way to build relationships with employers and expand your resume and is often an inroad into permanent placement within firms."

Temporary staffing numbers are often misunderstood – it's rare that temp employment fluctuates at the same rate as permanent employment. If anything, the relation is an inverse one – temp employment rises when the unemployment rate rises because more Americans are out of work and need a short-term gig to tide them over. According to Insider Monkey, the temp industry thrives "during periods of sustained, high unemployment."

Right now, employment is at a standstill in the United States – since the beginning of 2012, the unemployment rate has been stuck at a fixed level between 8.3 percent and 7.8 percent. As of January 2013, it was up slightly to 7.9, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Insider Monkey revealed a few reasons why temp staffing may be in trouble down the road – one, fear that the current stagnation in the unemployment rate will end, two, the recent rise in workers' compensation costs, and three, the increase in gas prices. But for the time being, the temp industry is going strong.

For those looking for a way to crack into the IT sector, a permanent 9-to-5 gig might not be in the cards right away. But getting a foot in the door as a temp has never been easier, and IT workers are taking advantage every day.