A lot has changed since the financial crisis of 2008. And one of those things is the workforce. The last recession happened during a time when technology has advanced quite far, and there are higher costs associated with permanent workers. As a result, the workforce is changing — we may be on the verge of seeing a true decline in the full-time, full benefits workforce we have come to expect in the last few decades.

New Workforce: Freelancers and Temps

Recession — and post-recession jobs — are different now. The high cost of health benefits, as well as other benefits, have employers looking for ways to keep the full time workforce in their companies to a minimum. The recession also showed that more people are willing to pick up the slack when their jobs are on the line, and that productivity needn’t drop hugely when people are laid off. As a result, temp jobs are becoming increasingly popular.

Indeed, my brother recently discovered this firsthand. He signed up with a temp company, and is working in a factory, while earning money for school. The factory is perfectly happy to let him come as much as he wants — and even work full time hours. Why? Because he’s cheaper that way. No health benefits to worry about. No payroll expenses to consider — the temp agency takes on those, because  it’s the temp agency that is “officially” hiring him. Plus, I suspect he makes less per hour than someone working full time.

Another rising trend is that of hiring freelancers. Technology has advanced so much that it is possible for employers to hire people to work on a freelance basis. Some can even work from home! Call center work, computer coding, graphic design, web development, and various types of writing can all be performed from home; employers don’t need to pay the overhead costs. And, if the work is performed by an independent contractor, no benefits need to be paid.

Preparing for Variable Income

What this means is that you might need to be ready for a variable income. Chances are that you will be unable to find a full time job, and may have to put together a career out of temp jobs and freelance opportunities. This means that you will need to develop skills that include flexibility, and that you will need to re-do your budget to reflect your variable income. Changes are coming, and you can take advantage of them, but you have to be ready.