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Recession Jobs: The Rise of Temps, Freelancers and Adjuncts

by Miranda Marquit

The recent recession has changed the make-up of the workforce. Since the recession, there has been a rise in temp jobs, freelancing jobs and adjunct professor jobs. If you are looking for a job, it’s a good idea to consider the realities of the new job market.

Employers Look for Less Expensive Workers

Recession Jobs

Are you prepared to enter a new workforce?

Employers are looking for ways to cut costs, and less expensive workers are in demand right now. As a result, there has been a recent increase in recession jobs: freelance jobs, temp jobs, and even adjunct faculty positions. Each type of job has its own benefits for employers, but probably the big one is this: Employers don’t have to provide benefits for freelancers, temporary workers and adjunct faculty. That represents a huge savings. Other savings, such as reductions in overhead costs such as office space, might also be realized.

For regular employees, this can be a problem. Jobs come with less security, and you might find yourself let go in favor of someone who can do your job — even remotely — at a lower cost to your employer. While not all jobs are in danger this way, some jobs could be. It might be time to review your skills, and figure out how you can be of value in the new economy.

How You Can Benefit from New Job Trends

With employers on the lookout for less expensive employees, this might be your chance to find a little work, or to develop a side hustle for a little extra income. One of the areas that is really exploding right now is freelance work online. Technology has made it possible for many people to work from home, and the rise of the Internet has created whole new career fields. As a freelancer, you can provide your services on a time schedule that works for you. In some cases, it is possible to take your freelancing side hustle full time.

If you have been laid off, and have had trouble finding a job, you might sign up for temp work. Temp agencies put you on the payroll, and, while you don’t usually get benefits, you will get regular pay. If you have a specific skill, or don’t mind doing certain types of work, you can find long-term temporary positions. My brother has had luck finding decent paying positions as a temp, including positions that last weeks — or even months. Companies still need workers to do jobs, and being willing temp means you can fill that need. Of course, the big downside is the loss of benefits, which can be devastating. Even if you are making a little bit more per hour, you might miss the fact that the benefits made things like health care a little more affordable.

One of the bummers, from a more personal standpoint, though, has been the trend toward more adjuncts. My husband is making it work for him, teaching classes as an adjunct at two different universities. The upside is that he might be able to turn one of the positions into a tenure-track position if the university decides that it has the budget for a “full time” professor next year. Plus, it’s good teaching experience for someone who didn’t have much previous experience.

In the end, opportunities are what you make of them. There are opportunities for work out there, but the changing demands of the job market may mean that you have to change your expectations.

Photo credit: EU Social


Published or updated December 26, 2012.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike

This whole thing about employers looking for bargains on labor is driving me insane. When I see with my own eyes I also see pure red! I attend a lot of job fairs in order to network with other hiring managers and interview applicants. I hear many companies low balling applicants at these events. I hate it.

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2 Pat S

Great article. Unfortunate that jobs with benefits are going away, but glad to see that for some people, this might open up a whole new word of opportunities. At least I guess that’s the most positive way of looking at it.

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