Lately, hiring has increased in an area where few people prefer to be employed. From companies like Wal-Mart, General Motors to PepsiCo, companies are increasingly turning to temporary workers, freelancers, contract workers and consultants.
It seems what’s driving this trend is that companies are wanting to insulate themselves from a volatile economy while creating a permanent group of cheaper, benefit-less workers to replace a big chunk of their full-time workforce. Temporary workers are often paid less than full-time workers and are not likely to receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement benefits, or be protected by labor laws.
The use of temps has expanded into employment sectors that rarely used them in the past – professional services, for example, which include lawyers, doctors and IT specialists.
The impact this has had on the legal industry is that lawyers and paralegals are often hired on a temp basis to perform fixed-term tasks like documents searches. Instead of maintaining a group of expensive lower level legal help, law firms increasingly are outsourcing work to other locations abroad like India, where an educated and lower paid labor force works in English. Legal outsourcing is likely to grow as more firms look to save on labor-intensive tasks.
What does this mean for court reporters? I believe with the technology we have, there is nothing inhibiting law firms from using technologies such as Skype and GoToMeeting, among others, and cloud computing sources to be able to outsource their deposition work. This would also apply to any other entity that would have a need for stenographically recorded documents.
So if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to be proficient in new technologies so you can be competitive in a world where permanent job positions are decreasing, enabling employers to avoid paying soon mandatory health insurance, and instead are hiring outsourced, freelance, contract and temporary workers. There’s no reason you can’t be the one on the other end of that Skype connection working from your home.