Why a Contingent Workforce Helps Overcome the Blue-Collar Worker Shortage

There have been few successful solutions to the blue-collar worker shortage so far. Here’s why a contingent workforce may be the answer.

February 5, 2021

blue collar worker

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.

37% of blue-collar-heavy companies reported a measurable adverse impact of the worker shortage on the company’s profitability versus just 9% of white-collar-heavy companies.

—The Conference Board, 2020

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%

Source: Staffing Industry Analysts

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 temporary 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.  

In order to find the contingent workers you need, when you need them, a staffing agency can help enormously and keep things moving along smoothly. If you’re looking for a staffing partner to help you, contact PeopleReady today.

W-2 or 1099? 3 Steps to Help You Understand the Difference

Whether you’re adding gig work or freelancing with your “regular” work, finding jobs through a staffing agency, or just getting started on your taxes – it can be confusing to know which employment tax form to complete.

January 28, 2021
Two papers labeled W2 and 1099

Whether you’re adding gig work or freelancing with your “regular” work, finding jobs through a staffing agency, or just getting started on your taxes, it can be confusing to know which employment tax form to complete.

When comparing different forms, a common question asked is “Am I filling out the right one?” While your employer determines this when you first start working with them, it helps to know some of the key differences between a W-2 employee and a 1099-MISC worker.

The easiest differentiator between the two types of workers is whether taxes are withheld. Workers using a 1099-MISC form are considered self-employed independent contractors. Social Security and Medicare taxes are not withheld and 1099-MISC workers are required to pay their own taxes, the “self-employment” or “SE” tax.  W-2 employees have a percentage of each paycheck withheld by their employer and a portion of their employment taxes are paid for by the company. (For more information, consult the IRS and read more on their website.)

So what are other differences between 1099-MISC and W-2 employees? PeopleReady shares three key points to keep in mind.

Behavioral Control

Does your boss control what type of work you do, when, and how you do it? If yes, the company has behavioral control, most likely deeming you a W-2 worker. If you work through a staffing agency like PeopleReady, you could be a W-2 employee with the agency. 1099-MISC workers do not have a boss they must report to, but they are required to find their own jobs and clients, create their own contracts, and manage their tax deductions.

Financial Control

Financial control applies to how a worker is paid. In many W-2 scenarios, the employer decides when the worker is paid and for how much. A 1099-MISC independent contractor will define their payment through various contracts dependent on the project and clients they work with.

Relationship with Employer

Do you have set length of time you’ll work for the employer- maybe a few shifts or a set several weeks? Or is your time of employment indefinite, as there are no plans on you leaving? Each of these factors can help determine the type of relationship, whether you’re an employee or independent contractor. Working through a staffing agency can influence this: you may be a W-2 employee through the staffing agency, being connect to jobs for an outside customer or business. You may be a W-2 employee for the agency, since you will work with them for an indefinite period of time.  It’s always a good idea to double check with your recruiter or agency representative if you’re not sure of your employment type, or with a finance expert if you have questions about your tax situation.

Ready to make money doing the jobs you want, when you want? Here’s where to start

Use JobStack to Find Jobs Safely This Winter Season

What does it mean to work with a staffing company that can help you find work safely and feel secure in your job search? See how PeopleReady is committed to your safety with our app, JobStack.

January 26, 2021

What does it mean to work with a staffing company that can help you find work safely and feel secure in your job search? See how PeopleReady is committed to your safety with our app, JobStack.

"Use JobStack for Winter Safety" infographic

Avoid These 4 Common Workplace Injuries

Safety first.

It’s not just a catchphrase, it’s a guiding principle here at PeopleReady—and hopefully, it’s top of mind for you whenever you head out to any job.

January 14, 2021

Worker in a safety harness walking

Safety first.

It’s not just a catchphrase, it’s a guiding principle here at PeopleReady—and hopefully, it’s top of mind for you whenever you head out to any job. After all, every job involves some safety risks, though some more than others. That’s especially true in the warm summer months.

We’re not trying to scare anyone, but we do want to stress the importance of staying alert and exercising caution on a job site. Your safety is always our top concern—and for good reason: There are several injuries that can put you in harm’s way and keep you from working. Obviously, no one wants to get hurt, and no one wants to spend days, weeks, or even months recovering.

To help you keep an eye out for safety hazards, we’ve put together a list of common workplace injuries that keep workers out of commission:

Overexertion

Overexertion might be the first workplace injury to come to mind since it’s usually among the most common. Think of a worker hurting their back moving a heavy box. These injuries happen regularly because they can result from mistakes we all make when we’re fatigued or distracted, like not following the age-old wisdom of lifting with your legs, not your back.

Falls

Workplace falls are typically separated into two categories: falls from heights and falls on the same level. Falls from heights (or between floors) occur when a worker falls from a higher location like scaffolding or a roof. Falls on the same level can occur when you slip or trip over an object. In many cases, the easiest way to prevent falls is just to be alert.

Repetitive Motions

These injuries might sneak up on you because they’re not the result of a big event. They occur after repeatedly performing a small, seemingly innocuous task over and over again. The wear and tear on your muscles builds up over time and eventually you find yourself with an injury or condition (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) from overuse.

Cuts, Punctures or Scrapes

We spend a lot of time stressing the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE), and although you might consider it obvious advice, there’s a reason for it. Common injuries like cuts, punctures, and scrapes are largely preventable if you’re wearing the appropriate gear. These accidents occur when you’re not protected or you don’t have control of an object because you’re not wearing the proper equipment.

Now you know some common workplace injuries. So what are some tips to keep in mind to stay safe when you’re on the job site?

  • Always wear the appropriate PPE
  • Pay attention to your surroundings
  • Report any safety concerns
  • Don’t perform any task if you don’t feel properly trained or protected
  • If you experience any injury (even if it seems harmless), report it immediately.

How to Find Jobs Quickly With JobStack

These four easy steps are the best way for job seekers to make the most of JobStack and find jobs quickly and easily.

Man on his phone

Remember life before smartphones and apps? Yeah, neither do we. The joke that there’s an app for everything feels like a lifetime ago. Now, there truly does seem like to be an app for everything, ranging from the silly to the essential. There are even apps to help you manage your apps.

Luckily, there are also apps that let you conveniently find work. One example is JobStack, which lets you find on-demand work when and where you want it.

You’re probably wondering, “I already have a lot of apps—why is JobStack worth the coveted space on my home screen?” Simply put: You can find jobs more quickly than ever before just by taking steps you’re already taking. It’s no extra work on your part, but you’ll see great results.

Reggie Davis, a user of JobStack, says, "Jobstack matches me perfectly with jobs that are closer to me and shows us important information about the job that we are going to. In the morning before work, Jobstack will send me an alert to inform me that my job is about to begin and it has a notification letting the staff know I've arrived. I don't have to do anything but accept the job offer and go to work."

Here are 4 ways to use JobStack to speed up your job search:

  1. Apply to PeopleReady
    Once you’ve applied to PeopleReady and passed the review process, you’ve got the green light to start using the JobStack app. Why do we do it this way? Because we want to get the screening process out of the way so that you don’t have any delays once you start using the app. The good news is that if you’ve already used PeopleReady to find work, you’re ready to go!
  2. Accept jobs
    One of JobStack’s most innovative features is how it learns what jobs are the best match for you. It’s quite simple: The more jobs you accept, the more it understands which gigs you prefer. So over time your JobStack experience is truly unique to you, which means you spend less time browsing through jobs that don’t interest you.
  3. Ace the gig
    The app lets employers give feedback on your performance, which factor into your overall rating. Workers with low ratings because they didn’t show up to the job or who didn’t perform won’t receive job offers via JobStack, but workers with positive feedback will have more opportunities come their way. Don’t forget: The app also lets you give feedback on the jobs you take.
  4. Follow your own schedule
    The benefit of using an app to find work is that it’s always ready when you need it (and it’s still ready when you don’t need it). And since you don’t need to go into a branch to accept jobs or submit hours, you get to create the schedule that works for you.

6 Safety Questions to Ask on Every Job

Safety is our No. 1 priority at PeopleReady. Ask yourself these six questions before your first visit to the job site.

December 22, 2020
job safety

We get it. When it feels like you have a million things to do, safety isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind – particularly when you’re hustling to make it on time and doing the job well.

But imagine the frustration of having to miss work because of an injury. Sitting out of days, sometimes even weeks or months, of pay and on top of that, dealing with an injury. It’s not worth it! But the numbers aren’t comforting: The National Safety Council says that someone is injured on the job every seven seconds, adding up to 510 injuries each hour, 88,500 a week, and 12,600 every day.

Our goal is that when you’re on a job site with PeopleReady, you feel safe. Here are five crucial questions to ask yourself before heading out onto a job, every single time: 

1. Do I know the job?

When you’re sure of the job description and what your duties are, you can decide whether it’s a job you’re comfortable with and have the skills and proper training for. Make sure you know the details of a job before signing on.

2. Does the job look accurate?

If you show up to a job site and you’re being asked to do work that varies greatly from the description, call your branch representative about your safety concerns.

3. Am I geared up?

Don’t take your personal protective equipment (PPE) for granted; many injuries occur just because a worker isn’t wearing their PPE. And remember, PPE can be anything from steel-toed boots to a simple pair of protective glasses.

4. Do I feel safe?

If there is anything about your job site that doesn’t feel safe, do the right thing and let your supervisor and branch staff know. Respectfully informing them of any potential hazards not only protects you and your colleagues, but safeguards the business.

5. Have I reported this?

If you’re injured on the job, you need to tell the onsite supervisor and your branch representative. No matter how minor, your injury should be reviewed and taken care of. Sometimes what may seem like a small injury can turn into something much more serious. Feel free to contact the PeopleReady NurseLine to speak with a nurse about the injury and get help on what to do next. As they always say, better safe than sorry.

6. Am I up to date?

On safety training, that is. When you first start working with PeopleReady, you’ll go through a general safety assessment so we can understand how familiar you are with safety procedures and best practices. You can continue to grow your safety understanding and training with PeopleReady through various certifications, like OSHA 10, that provide you with the important safety info you need.

The top three workplace injuries that cause workers to lose workdays are overexertion, contact with or struck by objects/equipment, and slips, trips, and falls. Fortunately, these types of injuries can be prevented much of the time with a bit of foresight and awareness. We’re here to help with that.

5 Resume Tips That Job Seekers Should Know

Here are some tips to help you shine and overcome some resume obstacles—and prove to your future employer that you’re their ideal candidate.

November 7, 2020

Hand writing on paper

You may not have a lot of prior experience, or maybe there are gaps in your employment. Here are some tips to help you shine and overcome some resume obstacles—and prove to your future employer that you’re their ideal candidate.

Write Concisely

Regardless of your experience,  make sure your resume is easy to understand. Communicate well and make it readable, and don’t use wacky fonts or design styles. Be sure to use proper job titles. For example, using “Refuse Dispensing Engineer” or “Waste Management Professional” may make it confusing for the potential employer to understand. Be sure to format your resume correctly, align all of the columns and ensure it was written in an acceptable “resume style.” Clean and concise is best.

Use Proper Grammar

Any resume should be error-free. If you are not a great speller/writer, be sure to have another set of eyes proofread for spelling and grammatical errors. Even the best writers make mistakes. That’s why authors have editors.

Use Relevant Keywords

Be sure that you are including keywords that best fit your experience, beefing up your most recent positions. If you were a warehouse worker, be sure to add a sentence or two about some of the tasks that you performed. Employers will be looking for keywords that fit the jobs they have available and the more detailed your resume, the better your chances of landing an interview.

Focus on Skills 

What skills have you learned and gained from your past experiences that you can bring to a future employer? More important than titles, more important than the names of the companies where you worked in the past, are the skills you will bring with you.

Share Your Experiences

Some opportunities may not seem like a good fit at first, but be open to different levels of work. Be clear on what you can do, and what jobs you want going forward. This type of information can easily be added as your opening resume objective. Your experience in a different industry than the one you are applying for may apply nicely. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you may be new to the industry, but are confident in your ability to transfer your skills from previous experience.

Define Your Past Positions

Have you had a large reduction in responsibility? For example, were you previously a plant manager but in your most recent position, a retail sales clerk? Potential employers may wonder what happened. Just be prepared to explain why. Were you looking to try something new? Did you get laid off and needed to find something else rather quickly? Be upfront about topics that some employers may perceive as a concern.

Demonstrate Commitment

Employers want to see that you have stayed long enough at previous employers to add value, learn new skills, and build longevity and loyalty with the company. Too many job shifts in too short a time period may suggest that you won’t stick around for them either. Also: Are there gaps in your employment? Be prepared to have a conversation about this during an interview or simply note this in your resume. Employers want to hire those who are going to commit to their company.

You have unique talents and gifts that will be an asset to some lucky employer. Follow these tips, and let your resume rise above the rest. At PeopleReady, we understand the interview process can be intimidating, that’s why we take pride in helping our associates prepare for the next step in their career. 

5 Tips to Get the Holiday Jobs You Want

The search for holiday help has been at ultimate highs these past few years, and things aren’t looking much different this year.

September 21, 2020
Hands wrapping presents

The search for holiday help has been at ultimate highs these past few years, and things aren’t looking much different this year.

If you’re looking for seasonal work, the odds are in your favor. The demand for workers is high and you’ll have a variety of jobs to choose from, including those in industries such as retail and warehousing. This time can also be an excellent opportunity to explore a number of different positions and roles that offer the flexibility of temporary, work or get your foot in the door at a company you’d like to eventually be full-time.

Holiday Job Search Tips

When companies are looking for strong talent just like you and seemingly everyone is looking for holiday shifts, it’s important to stand out among the rest of candidates. To get the roles you want, what are some ways to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward? PeopleReady shares our five tips here:

  1. Get Online
    The internet is the best place to start looking for the jobs available to you. Staffing sites and job boards are constantly updated so even if you don’t see what you’re looking for immediately, keep your eyes out because postings are frequently added. Another great option can be using a mobile app to find jobs so you can see what’s available wherever you are and whenever you want. Apps like JobStack not only give you a look into new jobs available, but also offer capabilities like selecting specific shifts, contacting the branch, and logging your hours!
  2. Start Early
    Sooner is better when it comes to applying for seasonal jobs. Holiday hiring can begin months ahead of when the season actually begins, so now that it’s already close to being in full swing, get started now! Also keep in mind training and hiring can take some time. As the days get shorter, time flies!
  3. Be Prepared
    Have your resume, references, skills, and any necessary work documentation ready. Not only will it help speed up and simplify the application process, it looks great to recruiters and possible employers when you show up prepared and organized.
  4. Share Availability
    When you communicate your availability with your recruiter, you’re setting yourself up for success. If you can work night shifts, weekends, or overtime, you might have the upper hand in getting a role that needs flexibility. If you’re unavailable for certain blocks of time, communicate this as well. The more your recruiter knows about your availability, the better equipped they are to find you jobs that match your needs.
  5. Show Your Strengths
    No matter the role, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your skills. Whether you have exceptional customer service, fantastic organizational skills, or a knack for creativity, you can utilize your abilities in ways that support your role and impress your employer. The opportunities are endless when you show up with a great attitude, on time, and ready to work

3 Reasons Why Manufacturers Should Use Contingent Workers

The entire economy has been affected by COVID-19. See how businesses in the manufacturing and logistics industry can recover and become stronger than ever.

September 2, 2020
manufacturing, contingent workers

Every sector of the U.S. economy needed to react to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the manufacturing and logistics industry is no exception.

Most businesses experience seasonal cycles throughout the year. They’re also generally accustomed to variability in consumer preferences and well equipped to handle changing economic conditions. But the state of today’s world is something that no one could have predicted or prepared for.

No matter their size or industry, manufacturing and logistics businesses will see a few notable trends that will shape the industry in the years ahead. Learn how a contingent workforce solves a variety of challenges and keep your business moving forward.

The Variability in Supply Chains

Because certain types of businesses closed temporarily, and others faced unprecedented demand for their goods, many suppliers were severely affected. Despite these uncertainties, manufacturers seemed optimistic about their staffing plans for the rest of 2020 even during the peak of the pandemic, according to a survey by Thomas Insights:

  • 56% did not experience and are not planning layoffs.
  • 30% say they are actively hiring.
  • 91% are confident that the industry will recover.

In the coming months, businesses will need to better accommodate workloads and understand when staffing levels may need to be adjusted, as well as identify any roles that need to be repositioned or restructured. They also have an excellent opportunity to determine when and where contingent staff are required.

After a crisis or recession, businesses are typically hesitant to hire permanent staff. Hiring temporary or temp-to-hire workers can be a suitable alternative when they’re unsure about their immediate future and wish to minimize risk.

The Effects of E-Commerce

Retailers have been developing new ways to meet changing consumer demand and calls for safer shopping alternatives, using delivery or pickup options and virtual appointments to ensure safety while still offering convenient access to their products and services. Consumers have turned to e-commerce to fulfill some of their needs throughout this time, allowing retailers to make sales even while brick-and-mortar stores were closed.

In the early stages of the pandemic, consumers turned to online channels to purchase essential items, home furnishings, gifts and more.

  • In 2019, shoppers spent over $600 billion online, up nearly 15 percent from the previous year.
  • E-commerce sales are still up 55 percent year over year for the first seven months of the year, resulting in $434.5 billion in online spending.

The transition to online shopping has increased the workload for the manufacturing and logistics industry, as warehouses and distribution centers are tasked with being more efficient with picking, packing, and sending items to the package carrier.

As online sales continue to grow with no signs of stopping, bringing on contingent or temp-to-hire workers who can work on a short-term basis is key to delivering these items on time. With this additional support, businesses in manufacturing and logistics can scale much more efficiently and be prepared for future growth in e-commerce.

The Shifting Workforce

As warehouses and distribution centers face an influx of demand, people are experiencing significant obstacles in finding or maintaining a job, including reduced access to transportation, lack of affordable childcare, and various other reasons that may require them to work on a part-time or temporary basis. With the new realities of schooling and working from home, flexible schedules will be a beneficial alternative for much of your workforce.

Businesses will balance these changes with their own constraints, whether it’s how many employees they can bring back while still observing social distancing rules, or how many employees they can afford after a lengthy shutdown, with the availability of potential staff. Having contingent or temp-to-hire staff is a great benefit whenever they need additional support due to scheduling changes and other disruptions.

Partner with PeopleReady

If you’re starting a new project with a strict deadline and a tight budget, getting easy access to workers who are ready to step in and who may have performed similar work in the past is an invaluable asset. Many businesses may not be in a position right now to hire long-term employees, and temporary staffing can provide flexibility while keeping operations running smoothly.

To find temporary or temp-to-hire staff for your manufacturing and logistics business, contact PeopleReady today.

Spectrum Solutions Gets Staffing Support from PeopleReady

Spectrum Solutions needed additional staffing to meet demand for COVID-19 test kits, so they turned to PeopleReady for their workforce needs.

July 15, 2020

Spectrum Solutions is a company known for producing the saliva-based DNA testing kits used by Ancestry.com to help people discover their lineage. And for the company based in Draper, Utah, business was thriving.

Then COVID-19 struck, and company leaders wondered what they could do to help keep people and communities safe.

Cities across the U.S. are struggling to access and administer COVID-19 test kits to help track and contain the virus. The typical test for COVID-19 involves a cotton swab to either the throat or nose, and, with cases of COVID-19 soaring, demand was far outstripping supply. In addition, this method of testing typically requires healthcare providers to discard gloves and masks after close contact with anyone who may have the virus—critical PPE equipment that is also in short supply.

So, without delay, Spectrum started to explore a saliva-based testing kit using the approach and the technology they already had in place, evolving it to help in one of the most important fights of our time.

24/7 staffing needs

The Spectrum team knew they’d have to turn on a dime. Working around the clock, they were able to quickly develop a test that met the same standards and delivered similar results to the swab-testing method. What’s more, under a medical provider’s supervision, the saliva collection could be self-administered, which removes the need for close contact with healthcare workers—protecting the patient and staff and preserving PPE.

“This pandemic impacts every segment of society and keeping people safe is about everyone pitching in to make a difference,” said Bill Phillips, Spectrum’s Chief Operating Officer. “We saw helping as our responsibility. That meant quickly pivoting and ramping up our operations during these unprecedented times.”

The FDA–EUA fast-tracked approval of the test kit, which was developed in tandem with Rutgers University and can produce results in 24 hours. With demand high, Phillips anticipated Spectrum would produce 1 million kits per month initially and eventually as high as 3 million a month. They needed more people to support production, so, the company reached out to PeopleReady, who is now serving as its exclusive staffing partner for temporary staffing support.

“Spectrum is helping to save lives. We knew they needed the best and we’d need to be able to provide them with a workforce virtually overnight,” said Stefan Hiesel, Market Manager for PeopleReady. “Working with Spectrum, we were able to meet their needs at two production facilities to support the important work they’re doing.”

PeopleReady associates are now a vital part of the Spectrum team, working in the “clean room” and serving as the last touch point for the kits before they are sent around the globe.

“Demands change and we need partners who can act quickly and deliver in an unpredictable environment. PeopleReady has provided us with the workforce flexibility we need at this critical time,” added Phillips.

PeopleReady’s JobStack app is helping the company to connect with workers as demand changes at a moment’s notice. Hiesel and his team work with Spectrum to ensure the right jobs are getting to the right people to move this COVID-19 safety effort forward in a timely manner.

“Our workers know they are a part of keeping the country and the world safe during this pandemic, and they take great pride in the work they do with Spectrum,” added Hiesel.  

Learn more about how PeopleReady can help you during COVID-19. 

PeopleReady specializes in quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly-skilled workers. PeopleReady supports a wide range of blue-collar industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, waste and recycling, and hospitality. Leveraging its game-changing JobStack platform and 600-plus branch offices across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, PeopleReady served approximately 98,000 businesses and put more than 221,000 people to work in 2020.