When Devon Carrow was a baby, a cookie-coated kiss from his mom made him break out in hives. His food allergies are so severe that he doesn't even have to eat something in order to have a severe reaction.
More and more people are choosing a contingent work style — that is, temporary work that may be project-based or time-based — over full-time or part-time work. Temporary placement service provider Adecco predicts that the rate of growth in contingent workers will be three to four times the growth rate among traditional workforces, and that they eventually will make up about 25% of the global workforce.
One reason for the increasing popularity of contingent work is involuntary: not everyone can find full-time employment. But, intriguingly, more and more people are choosing a contingent work style.
Some contingent workers say they are seeking better work/life balance; others want to create or design their own careers by choosing the kind of work or projects that create a unique set of skills, making them more desirable prospective employees. Contingent employment can expose individuals to a broad variety of challenges, demanding constant learning and new skills, which make work more interesting for them.
Often, contingent workers say that it was their full-time employment experience that convinced them to strike out on their own. Research published by Rosalind Bergemann in 2010 among workers who voluntarily chose to become independent reveals that 74% of respondents cited a lack of employer engagement as their principal reason for leaving.
New technologies and services for contingent workers make it easier and less painful to make the choice to go independent. New types of talent brokers such as YourEncore, an online network of retired and veteran scientists and engineers, or InnoCentive, which offers crowdsourcing services to companies with innovation challenges, connect free agents with project-based work in virtual marketplaces. The lack of benefits such as health and life insurance and disability benefits has been an ongoing major deterrent to contingent work, but even that situation is changing. Insurance and other benefits can be obtained from organizations such as the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) at highly competitive rates. Axiom Legal offers its members continuity of benefits when they are between assignments.
Contingent workers can add to an organization's intellectual capacity and provide instant expertise as needed.