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

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.

January 14, 2021

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. 

Staffing for Seasonal Trends in Retail

See some of the peak periods that retailers, manufacturers and distribution warehouses need to consider when creating a staffing strategy.

October 25, 2020

Staffing for Seasonal Trends in Retail

See some of the peak periods that retailers, manufacturers and distribution warehouses need to consider when creating a staffing strategy.

Staffing for Seasonal Trends in Retail

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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

Are You Ready for the Holiday Rush?

See how the best way to ensure success during the holiday season is partnering with a staffing company for your seasonal staffing needs.

September 18, 2020

retail 092118

Every year it seems time gets compressed. Summer is barely over and retail outlets are already pushing Halloween costumes and holiday decor. As premature as this may seem, you might also want to plan ahead if you have the responsibility for staffing your workplace during the holiday season. A little bit of foresight can help you avoid many headaches: unplanned calls-offs, leave without notice, office tensions when you have to decline time off requests…

How can I plan ahead?

Ask your staff to pencil in their vacations now so you can prepare. You can find ways to cover their workload while devising a schedule that ensures all permanent staff are supported. You want your team to have opportunities to use their hard-earned vacation, and you also want to safeguard that essential business support is available and your results won’t suffer.

The holidays are my busiest season!

When managing retail or a shipping and receiving operation, it may be unreasonable to grant ample time off during the holidays. This can be tricky as your existing staff wants to spend time with friends and family. In this case, communicate to the entire team clearly that working during the holidays is required. You can still make work a positive for your team by offering incentive such as higher pay for holiday work, time off by seniority, or implementing a lottery system and/or offering extended time off after the seasonal rush. Glassdoor offers more great suggestions to effectively manage employee time off so you can best position your business and your workforce for a successful season.

Consider a staffing partner.

Hiring temporary staff to provide coverage may be a great option for your company. If you’ve worked with temporary staff in the past who understand the fundamental job requirements for the staff they are covering for, invite them to come back and work with you! If you haven’t used temporary staff in the past, a strong way to ensure coverage is to work with a staffing partner who will take care of the recruiting and placement for you.

Find a staffing partner who will listen to your needs, has a background in recruiting for similar skill types, and offers a pool of trained candidates that can step in. They can ultimately provide relief for your permanent staff with as little disruption to your business as possible. Find out more about how a partner providing 24/7 support can work for you.

Holiday Help Wanted: How Retailers Can Staff for the Season

Preparing for the busiest season of the year starts with having the right staff to complete orders and keep customers satisfied. See how it’s done.

September 15, 2020

retail worker, retail transaction

For decades, Black Friday has been considered the peak buying day for the holiday season. But fewer shoppers are likely to be lining up outside stores after Thanksgiving dinner this year.  

Instead of expecting big holiday crowds battling it out over the season’s hottest items, the retail industry is revising their plans to account for the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers will be limiting the number of shoppers in stores; some are cutting store hours during Thanksgiving weekend or closing altogether. 

Retailers were already expanding their e-commerce services prior to the pandemic due to consumer demand. As shoppers increasingly have turned to the internet to find even better deals than in-store bargains, there will be added pressure on retailers to hire staff who can fulfill these purchases.  

The evolution of consumer habits is one thing that retailers will need to watch for this holiday season. Another is the effect of e-commerce on the supply chain. Major delivery services including FedEx, the USPS and the UPS have experienced significant delays with the excessive number of packages being shipped, and retailers can likely expect service disruptions that may compromise their ability to get deliveries to shoppers on time.  

On-demand Staffing for the Holidays 

Retailers will be relying on thousands of additional workers at their fulfillment centers to process online orders, and with more e-commerce sales expected this holiday season, staffing is a critical need. It’s even more critical now as they look to speed up production and get inventory out fast given the increased sales volume and potential of delivery delays this season.

A 2019 Adobe poll of 250 HR professionals cited holiday seasonal hiring as the most stressful of all recruiting periods. 

During this tumultuous year, one of the most important lessons for retailers is the need to shift strategies and adapt to the current environment. Being flexible is key. Using an on-demand workforce can help retailers by streamlining the hiring process and allowing them to scale based on need. As the holiday season approaches, having the right staff to account for increased sales is important for earning and keeping customers’ trust.   

Preparing for the busiest season of the year starts with having the right staff to complete orders and keep customers satisfied. Contact us to find out how PeopleReady can help you with all your on-demand staffing needs during the holidays. 

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 490,000 people to work in 2020.