The Future of Contract Hiring in the US: Trends to Watch (Part I)

10.11.23 10:37 PM

The Future of Contract Hiring in the US: Trends to Watch


Reading time:  9 minutes


The landscape of contract hiring in the United States is undergoing significant transformation, driven by various factors ranging from technological advancements to shifting workforce preferences. This blog delves into the key trends shaping this evolving landscape and offers comprehensive, actionable recommendations. It also highlights how BizFirst is aligning with these trends to offer best-in-class hiring solutions.


The Rise of the Gig Economy and Remote Work

The gig economy is expanding rapidly. Statista's projection of it growing to 86.5 million people by 2027 in the US underscores a fundamental shift in work preferences towards flexibility and autonomy. This growth is fueled not just by worker preferences but also by businesses seeking more agile, scalable workforce solutions. Remote work, catalyzed by the pandemic, further complements this trend by dissolving geographical barriers, thus broadening the talent pool for businesses, and offering workers a wider range of opportunities.


Technological Advancements in Hiring Processes

Technological strides, especially in AI and machine learning, are transforming hiring processes. AI's role in recruiting, as emphasized by 76% of hiring managers in a LinkedIn survey, is becoming pivotal in enhancing efficiency and accuracy in talent matching. These advancements are not limited to candidate screening but extend to predictive analytics, allowing businesses to foresee hiring needs and workforce trends. This technological shift promises to make the process of finding and retaining contract talent more streamlined and data driven.


Economic Factors Influencing Contract Hiring

Economic dynamics play a crucial role in shaping hiring trends. In uncertain economic climates, businesses often prefer contract hiring as a flexible, cost-effective staffing alternative. This approach allows companies to adapt quickly to market changes without the financial and logistical commitments associated with permanent staffing. However, this also requires businesses to stay attuned to economic indicators and workforce trends to optimize their contract hiring strategies effectively.


Increase in Specialized Skill Demand

There's an escalating demand for professionals with highly specialized skills. This trend is particularly evident in sectors like technology, healthcare, and niche industrial areas, where specific skills are often required for short-term projects or to address skill gaps in existing teams. Businesses must refine their recruitment processes to identify and attract these highly specialized professionals, often requiring a more targeted approach than traditional hiring methods.


Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are becoming central to contract hiring. A diverse workforce brings varied perspectives and experiences, which are crucial in driving innovation and creative problem-solving. Companies are increasingly adopting inclusive hiring practices, not only as a social responsibility but also as a strategic advantage. This shift towards inclusivity in contract hiring requires thoughtful policymaking and a commitment to creating an environment where diverse talents can thrive.


Actionable Recommendations

1.  Embrace Flexibility:

Embracing flexibility in the workplace is increasingly essential in today’s dynamic business environment. To effectively adapt to the rising demand for flexible work arrangements, businesses need to consider several key aspects:

  • Offering Remote and Hybrid Work Models: Beyond just providing these options, it’s crucial to ensure they are implemented effectively. This includes having clear policies, robust communication channels, and the necessary technological infrastructure to support remote and hybrid working.
  • Creating Adaptive Work Environments: Adapt your physical office space to accommodate various working styles. This could mean having open collaborative spaces, quiet areas for focused work, and flexible seating arrangements.
  • Flexible Scheduling Options: Allow for variable work hours or compressed workweeks to accommodate employees' personal responsibilities and preferences. This not only supports work-life balance but also can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Supporting Work-Life Integration: Acknowledge and support the integration of work and personal life. This can include offering benefits like childcare support, wellness programs, and mental health resources.
  • Leveraging Technology for Flexibility: Utilize technology that facilitates a flexible working environment. This includes cloud-based platforms, collaborative tools, and mobile solutions that enable employees to work efficiently from anywhere.
  • Training for Managers and Teams: Provide training to help managers lead remote or hybrid teams effectively. Focus on developing skills in remote team management, communication, and building trust in a dispersed team environment.
  • Feedback and Continuous Improvement: Regularly gather feedback from employees on the effectiveness of flexible work arrangements and be open to making adjustments. Continuous improvement should be a key component of your flexibility strategy.
  • Promoting an Inclusive Culture: Ensure that flexible work arrangements do not lead to a divide between in-office and remote staff. Cultivate an inclusive culture that values all employees equally, regardless of their work location or arrangement.

By actively adapting and implementing these flexible work practices, businesses can respond to the evolving needs and expectations of the workforce. This not only attracts and retains top talent but also fosters a more engaged, productive, and satisfied team.


2.  Invest in Technology:

Leveraging technology in recruitment and contract staffing is pivotal for modern businesses. Here are some key technologies to consider:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): These technologies can greatly enhance the efficiency of the recruitment process. AI algorithms can screen applications, sort candidates based on skills and experience, and even predict candidate success. Machine Learning can refine this process over time, learning from hiring patterns to improve future candidate selection.
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): These are essential for managing the influx of applications efficiently. Modern ATS can automate many aspects of the recruitment process, from posting job ads to scheduling interviews.
  • Data Analytics Tools: These tools help in making data-driven decisions. Analytics can identify hiring trends, predict staffing needs, and assess the effectiveness of recruitment strategies.
  • Communication and Collaboration Tools: In a world where remote work is becoming increasingly common, tools that facilitate seamless communication and collaboration are essential. This includes project management tools, video conferencing software, and instant messaging platforms.
  • Social Media and Digital Marketing Tools: These are useful for reaching a broader audience and attracting top talent. Social media platforms can be used for brand building and job dadvertising, while digital marketing tools can help tailor your message to the desired audience.

By investing in these technologies, businesses can streamline their recruitment and contract staffing processes, ensuring they attract and retain the best talent in a competitive market.


3.  Adapt to Economic Changes:

Adapting to economic changes is critical for businesses to maintain a competitive edge. A responsive hiring strategy that can swiftly adjust to economic fluctuations is key. This approach involves several crucial elements:

  • Scaling Workforce Numbers: Flexibility in scaling the workforce up or down based on current economic conditions is vital. This includes leveraging contract staff during peak periods or scaling back during downturns, ensuring the business remains agile and cost-effective.
  • Strategic Alignment with Business Priorities: It's essential to align contract roles with the organization's evolving priorities and goals. This means not only filling immediate skill gaps but also forecasting future needs and hiring contract staff with the skills to meet those demands.
  • Financial Forecasting and Budget Management: Implementing robust financial forecasting and budget management practices will help businesses navigate economic uncertainties. This includes allocating resources effectively for contract staffing and being prepared for potential market shifts.
  • Market Analysis and Competitor Benchmarking: Regular market analysis and competitor benchmarking can provide insights into effective staffing strategies. Understanding how competitors and industry leaders are adapting their workforce in response to economic changes can inform more strategic decision-making.
  • Dynamic Skill Assessment: Continuously assessing the skill requirements of the organization considering economic trends helps in making informed hiring decisions. This means regularly updating the skill profiles needed for contract roles to ensure they are in line with current market demands.
  • Building a Talent Pipeline: Establishing a pipeline of potential contract talent for future needs can help businesses quickly mobilize the right people when economic conditions change. This involves maintaining relationships with past contractors and engaging with talent communities relevant to the business's industry.
  • Risk Management: Incorporating risk management into the hiring strategy is essential. This involves assessing the potential risks associated with different hiring decisions and economic scenarios and developing contingency plans to mitigate these risks.


4.  Target Specialized Skills:

Targeting specialized skills in today’s market is a strategic necessity for businesses. To effectively attract these highly skilled professionals, several additional approaches can be incorporated:

  • Leverage Niche Job Boards and Professional Networks: Utilize specialized job boards and professional networks that cater to specific industries or skill sets. This can help in reaching a more focused group of potential candidates who possess the exact skills and experience you’re looking for.
  • Enhance Online Presence in Specific Communities: Actively participate in online forums, webinars, and social media groups where professionals with specialized skills engage. This not only increases visibility but also helps in understanding the dynamics and needs of these talent pools.
  • Develop Internship and Apprenticeship Programs: Create opportunities for internships and apprenticeships in collaboration with educational institutions. This not only helps in training potential employees in specific skill sets but also builds a pipeline of future talent.
  • Offer Continuous Learning and Development Opportunities: Providing opportunities for ongoing professional development can be a strong draw. This includes access to advanced training, certifications, and workshops relevant to their specialties.
  • Personalize the Recruitment Experience: Tailor the recruitment process to the specific needs and interests of candidates with specialized skills. This can include personalized communication, understanding their career aspirations, and showcasing how their skills will be valued and utilized in your organization.
  • Engage with Industry Events and Conferences: Regularly participate in industry-specific events, conferences, and trade shows. These are excellent platforms for networking with potential candidates and staying abreast of emerging skills and technologies.
  • Utilize Employee Referral Programs: Encourage current employees to refer professionals from their networks who have the specialized skills you need. Employee referrals can often lead to high-quality hires as they come with pre-established trust and insights into the candidate’s abilities.
  • Collaborate with Staffing Agencies Specializing in Niche Skills: Partner with staffing agencies that specialize in your industry, or the skill sets you require. They often have a deeper understanding and a wider network of specialized talent.


By incorporating these approaches into your recruitment strategy, your business can more effectively target and attract professionals with the specialized skills crucial for your operations and projects. This targeted approach not only fills immediate skill gaps but also contributes to the long-term success and innovation of the organization.



In summary, the future of contract hiring in the US presents a complex yet promising picture. By staying informed and adapting to these trends, businesses can effectively leverage contract hiring as a strategic tool. With BizFirst as a partner, companies can navigate this terrain with confidence, backed by expert guidance and innovative solutions.


At BizFirst, we are at the forefront of adapting to and shaping these contract hiring trends. Our services are designed to provide flexible, efficient, and strategic hiring solutions, underpinned by the latest technological advancements and a deep understanding of the economic factors at play. Partnering with BizFirst means accessing a wealth of expertise in contract hiring, allowing your business to stay ahead in the dynamic labor market of today and tomorrow.

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Connie Lang