Temporary workers still the growing trend but at what risk?

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According to “The future of work, a journey to 2022” from PwC the trend for recruitment growth fuelled by temporary workers looks set to continue with 46% of HR professionals expecting at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2022.

This suits employee demands as the report also predicts a shift to ‘portfolio careers’ with people enjoying more flexibility and varied challenges by working freelance or as a contractor for a number of organisations. This is a global belief felt most strongly in China and amongst graduates. Over half of the survey participants in China believe that traditional employment won’t be around in the future.

A workforce of temporary and contract staff can bring many benefits, however it is important to be aware of the potential risks too. Without the commitment of a permanent contract the employee can lack the loyalty to customer and company that a permanent employee would have.  Indeed the PwC report predicts that people are more likely to see themselves as members of a particular skill or professional network than as an employee of a particular company.

Furthermore, companies frequently fail to undertake appropriate background screening on this section of the workforce, leaving themselves vulnerable to employee fraud risks, theft and data security breaches. The risk of allowing unscreened personnel access to an organisation’s facilities, staff and data is significant.

Encouragingly, PwC found that 31% of HR professionals are already building talent strategies around people’s growing desire for portfolio careers, hiring staff on a more ad-hoc basis. However, with more people moving roles more frequently, a key challenge will be ensuring that the people being hired genuinely have the expertise required or claimed. Companies must ensure that they also put in place an appropriate screening programme as part of their strategy.

HireRight’s checklist for screening contract or temporary staff

•   Recognise that for a background screening policy to be an effective risk management tool it should be extended to ALL employees regardless of contract type. Otherwise you leave gaps that fraudsters can exploit.

•   Extend your requirements to recruitment agencies working on your behalf, and to firms delivering your outsourced services.

•   Recognise peak times you will need additional staff (e.g. pre-Christmas retail staff) and plan your hiring and background screening well in advance to avoid having to rush candidates through the process. When you are under time pressure the temptation is to skip vital stages.

•   Consider linking background screening process to building or system access – no badge or passwords issued until a background screen has been completed.

•   Use a background screening criteria that is appropriate to the risk profile of the role being filled.




HireRight is here to help guide you through the biggest screening challenges so you can focus on what’s important to you; attracting top talent. HireRight provides employment background screening services to organisations of any size, in every industry, and nearly anywhere.

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The HireRight Blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any statutes or laws cited in this article should be read in their entirety. If you or your customers have questions concerning compliance and obligations under United States or International laws or regulations, we suggest that you address these directly with your legal department or outside counsel.

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