Millennials & the Gig Economy: Employment is Shifting to Contract-to-Hire Staffing  

AKA: #temptoperm #cthstaffing #temptohire #contractorstaffing 

Let me be clear – I am not picking on Millennials. Millennials have brought many welcome changes to the employment landscape. I am the youngest sibling in my family and my sisters will tell you that I got all the perks of family life – my mom was too tired by then to argue with me. Millennials are kind of like that – the younger sibling who is insisting that the rules need to change! According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as reported in January 2023, by 2030, millennials will make up 75% of the US workforce. If you read enough stats, you’ll find several that don’t add up to 100 but ultimately… we can all agree that Millennials will be the dominant force in the US workforce.  

Millennials grew up in the digital age. They basically perfected the ‘swipe right’ age of dating and now many want to consider their employment choices in the same way. Imagine being able to swipe left when your workplace takes a turn for the worse! Contract-to-Hire staffing offers both employers and employees the ability to ‘try before you buy’. Additionally, employees have the opportunity to develop their skills further while gaining the variety and work-life integration they crave.  


Try Before you Buy 

What can employers gain by hiring contract-to-hire and gig workers?  

Employers have the option to bring in talent for surge needs, project or shorter-term assignments, and to expand their available skills without making long-term commitments. With the increase in staffing and recruiting firms offering contract-to-hire services, it’s easier than ever for employers to fill positions with gig workers. Whether using a very short-term service like Upwork or hiring a 3-6 month contractor through a recruiting agency (sometimes called temporary firms), there are plenty of cost-effective solutions for Employers to consider. According to the American Staffing Association, 63% of companies use contract-to-hire arrangements to evaluate a candidate’s long-term fit within the organization. Just like dating, it’s easy to just break up via text. Just kidding– NEVER break up via text!  

Why do Millennials like working contract-to-hire? 

Millennials have made gig working a mainstay of the employment force. Contract-to-hire arrangements allow workers to evaluate the role, team, manager, culture, and values of an organization before making a long term commitment. Many of these contractor roles allow flexibility in hours and location to help meet the needs of work-life integration also. In the world of instant gratification in which Millennials grew up, contract staffing is like the Netflix of job options – always available when you are ready to jump into a new series.  

While this blog is focused on Millennials, the reality is that all workers are seeking flexibility, and many are taking on more streams of revenue making gig work more and more common as each month goes by. FlexJobs completed a study in 2023 indicating that 80% of millennials want the remote work options often offered by contract-to-hire positions. The remote debate is for another day and another blog, but the reality remains – workers want flexibility and remote work is generally part of that equation.  

Another perk of contract-to-hire staffing is the ability to gain experience and develop new skills. Whether using a skill in a new industry or using a developed skill on a new platform, frequent job changes do provide additional exposure and skill development in ways that Boomers and GenX didn’t always have the opportunity to experience. Older generations were raised to value longevity in a role, finding a career path and building mastery in one area. Of course, there have been exceptions to that rule, but Millennials have been intentional in creating these opportunities by changing jobs more frequently (on average) and often having multiple skills or career paths they have developed throughout their career.  


Whether choosing their streaming service or swiping right, Millennials want choices. Contract-to-hire roles offer the flexibility and variety needed to build amazing careers and benefit the employers they support. It’s a win-win arrangement and I predict we’ll see more and more of this work arrangement in the coming years.  

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