AS LIZ GEORGE (’99 M.B.A.) OF DALLAS EARNED her first accounting
degree, she took a good job and envisioned working her way up her
firm’s corporate ladder until her retirement.
the plan, but everything changed when her employer went out of business.
when I decided it would be better to work for myself,” George says.
“I knew my accounting knowledge and software skills were marketable,
and there were plenty of companies that needed my skills and knowledge.
So it just made sense for me to become a contract worker.”
to Dennis Engels, Regents Professor of counseling, development and
higher education, George represents a growing number of people in
today’s work force who are working on a contractual basis rather
than becoming permanent employees.
to be that you expected to work for one or two companies over the
course of a career,” Engels says. “But now that has changed. For
example, one of my former classmates has been working his way up
in one company for 30 years, and that system has worked for him.
However, his children … are all successful contract workers who
change jobs every few months.”
jobs, more free agents
says the contract job market is the product of good economic times.
Right now, so many jobs are available that most companies find it
easier to use contract labor and to go through temporary employment
today’s job seekers to adopt the concept of “Me Inc.” and learn
to market themselves in the work force.
option, he says, is to work with a temp agency like Manpower Inc.
Currently it’s one of the nation’s largest private employers.
who began marketing her skills independently in 1987, has seen considerable
growth in the popularity of contract labor over the last decade.
She began as an independent contractor and now coordinates contract
workers in her private business. Though many people are becoming
contract workers out of necessity, she says she also sees a lot
of people becoming “free agents” because of the freedom it offers
ability to work on her own schedule, George was able to increase
her marketability by going back to school to earn a master’s degree
in human resource management.
as a contract worker also allows time for the things she loves —
like teaching scuba diving with her husband.
the many good points, George advises potential contract workers
to be aware that there is a downside. Companies that hire contractors
may not pay for worker benefits. In those cases, contract workers
who want benefits such as health insurance must cover the costs
it’s as simple as knowing that I don’t get paid vacations,” George
an employer’s perspective
are finding it easier to go through temporary employment agencies
than to recruit and hire on their own, says Donna Ledgerwood, associate
professor of management.
so many jobs available right now that internal human resource departments
are often overwhelmed,” she explains. “It’s a lot easier to go to
a temp agency to fill positions with qualified applicants. They’ve
got the resources and the manpower available to fill positions quickly.”
also notes that when companies are streamlining, human resource
departments are often the first to go because the companies can
use an agency to find workers for those jobs.
lot cheaper and more convenient,” she says.
(’93) of Dallas says her employer, Zale Corp., uses contract workers
and agencies to fill positions on special projects. Gwinn handles
university relations for the company.
number of new graduates are conducting their job searches as contract
workers and through temp agencies. They do so because they know
there are a lot more jobs available through these types of services
than through a newspaper or the Internet,” says Gwinn, who once
recruited for one of the largest temp agencies, Kelly Services.
these job search approaches because they’re between jobs, and others
come because they want to see what a job is all about before taking
it on full time.”
companies often hire full-time employees from those working on a
temporary basis as contract workers.
never know what’s around the corner,” she says. “There are so many
possibilities for contract and temporary workers. Some are hired
on full time after completing a special project, and others discover
that they really like the variety of contract and temporary employment.”