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How to Pay Highly Qualified Temps and Contract Workers

As a result of the recent economic slowdown and waves of layoffs across almost every industry, the workplace is now flooded with two types of agents: 1.) workers who have stepped into the role of full time contractors, freelancers and consultants, and 2.) employers who are seeking safety and low risk by hiring on a cautious, contingent basis. While they slowly regain budget resources and confidence in a secure future, many employers are trying to eliminate the risk and investment of long term hiring and are turning to temps, consultants, and freelancers to take on targeted short term projects. And of course, these short term workers are available in spades.

But one difficult question stands in the way of an otherwise smooth relationship: how should these contract and temporary workers be paid? If you’re looking for a safe way to handle contingency staffing needs and payment issues creating an obstacle, keep these considerations in mind.

1. Conduct standard calculations first. Determine the market value of full time work in this specific area. Factor in your geographic location, the level of experience you’re looking for, and the education credentials this work will require. Once you’ve settled on a fair annual salary, divide that number by 2,080 to obtain the hourly equivalent.
2. Recognize that contingent workers are often specialists, not generalists. If you’re asking a contingent worker to apply a skill or form of expertise that can’t be found among your generally trained full time staff, this person’s salary may need to be slightly higher.

3. Most contingent workers and freelancers handle their own taxes, insurance and other paperwork associated with staying in business. Since you won’t be handling this and your employee will, she’ll have further incentive to charge a slightly higher rate.

4. Motivation will be more essential for talented contingent workers than full time employees, so make sure you provide an adequate system of rewards and a respectful work environment. If you treat contract workers poorly, you’ll lose them much faster than full time staff members. Remember, contract workers have a long list of other clients competing for their attention. 

If you aren’t sure you’re up for the task of generating a market based pay scale and working to keep contingent employees on board, partner with an experienced staffing agency that can handle this task on your behalf. Reach out to the NC staffing pros at PSU for more information about how this process works.