The impact of the Great Recession on global workforces has been huge. Around the world, countless employers have been forced to lay off workers, make painful cuts and change the structures of their businesses.

The tech industry has not been immune. Stalwarts such as Microsoft, Google and Adobe are among those that have laid off employees and contractors.

When will things go back to normal?” is the question on everyone’s mind. Increasingly, however, the answer may not be the one we expected to hear. Meet the New Normal.

According to a survey conducted by Veritude, a staffing solutions company, many companies aren’t going to back to the way things were. In fact, only 3% of the companies it polled indicated that they’d “revert back to their pre-recession staffing model“. Instead, 22% plan complete restructurings and 38% plan to meld their old staffing models with their current recession-oriented models.

Veritude indicates that a big part of these staffing models will be temp workers. Although many companies have laid off temp workers due to the recession, it’s precisely the flexibility to do such a thing that will make temp workers so appealing going forward. Amongst the companies Veritude surveyed, 45% plan to use temp workers in the short term and in the future.

There are three primary reasons for this:

  • The contingent workforce aligns precisely with the key demands of the new economy: flexibility, lower costs, and increased ability to engineer cost out and value in“.
  • The flexibility offered by temp workers gives businesses the ability to “expand and contract according to business need“.
  • Temp workers make it possible for companies to put the “right people in the right place at the right time” and to “try before you buy” via temp-to-hire arrangements.

Temp workers are nothing new but even so, Veritude says that things won’t be the same:

Instead, companies will be deploying contingents in more targeted, specialized ways, to complete specific projects or fill specific needs. For example, one in four companies anticipate an increase in the size of their IT and Professional contingent staff. The rise in demand for specialized temps reflects the new focus on clear cost benefit.

What does this mean for workers in the tech industry? If anything, it seems that more and more of them will have to learn to think a bit more like freelancers and consultants if they’re going to succeed.

Photo credit: Phillie Casablanca via Flickr.