Posted by Public Affairs on March 25, 1998 at 13:51:13:
Contact: Public Affairs
NEW YORK – If you’re concerned that your temporary staff is slacking off, don’t worry – a new Pace University study shows that contingent workers are just as motivated as permanent employees. New findings of the attitudes, behaviors and motivations of contingent workers shatter many popular myths about this sector of the labor force.
“Far from being less committed, less satisfied, less skillful than core employees, contingent workers frequently scored higher in such areas of this survey,” said Peter Allan, a professor of management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York. “Management should not overlook the potential of these workers. Despite lacking job security and other benefits, they certainly have the motivation to function productively.”
Allan surveyed 197 professional and technical workers – both core and contingent – about how they perceived their jobs. Then he assessed those attributes that are linked to motivation and performance, such as task significance, autonomy, skill variety and feedback. The Pace University study shows:
· Contingent workers scored higher in their ability to be self-motivated by their jobs. Possible reason: lacking permanent positions, contingents may have valued their jobs more; permanent workers may take their jobs for granted.
· Contingent workers scored significantly higher in task identity and job feedback. Possible reason: contingents are hired for tasks that are whole identifiable pieces of work and provide information about the effectiveness of their performance.
· Contingent workers scored higher in need for growth, suggesting that they were likely to respond more favorably to jobs that offered them challenges.
With the exception of job security, the core workers did not score significantly higher in any category, including in their satisfaction with compensation. In many cases, professional and technical contingent workers are paid better than full-time employees are.
“Generally, contingent workers do not enjoy the same kinds of benefits that full-time employees do, such as pensions or health insurance,” Allan said. “But in many cases, people choose to be contingent workers, because it allows them job flexibility. Often hired for a special project, they leave when the assignment is complete, thus freeing them to care for an aging parent or young children. This type of temporary work also can be ideal for a retired person who wants to keep a hand in the labor force.”
Businesses need to tailor work to be motivating to the contingent workers, and provide them direct feedback on their performance in order to maximize motivation and production, Allan said.
Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, with 5,500 students, offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs, and hosts a number of research centers and institutes which extend its scholarship and teaching to a worldwide audience. The School is accredited by AACSB: the International Association for Management Education.