Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Strong Forecast for Contract and Flexible Workers

As the Business section reports daily on the latest gloom and doom economic news, I find myself searching - sometimes in vain- for bright spots or improvement on the horizon. Vicki Elmer reported in today's Washington Post on a CareerBuilder survey showing some bright spots for our readers: planned expansion in flexible work arrangements and only a slight decrease in contract workers across several industries.

Yes, this is obviously in response to managers reducing costs and lowering hiring risk in the face of the largest economic recession in nearly a century, but is there any good news here? I think so.
  • When smart employers want to reward and retain quality employees, but cannot afford bonuses or increases in salaries, they can offer non-monetary benefits like flexible schedules and telecommuting.
  • Contractual employment arrangements, which unfortunately don't come with the increasingly implortant (and expensive) health insurance, allow for flexibility you simply cannot find in the full-time world. Parents can work schedule flexibility into contracts and staff up during school terms and down in the summertime.

It's going to be a rocky ride, for sure, and the best thing we can do is to find and exploit the few bright spots in the economic outlook.

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