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The unstoppable rise of the SuperTemp

July 7, 2022

By Gail Lethbridge

The pace of change in the job world is eye-watering. 

The word “disruption” would be an understatement to describe the revolutionary changes that are upending the old ways of working and sourcing workforces.

SuperTemps are the centre of this storm

SuperTemps are the army of on-demand, white-collar freelancers, professional free agents and senior-level project workers who are on the march into the workforce.

The SuperTemp is not your grandfather’s short-term fix for a secretary on leave.

Today’s temps are high-end talent: top managers, interim CEOs and CFOs, lawyers and M&A strategists, and management consultants who have taken refuge from full-time careers and are joining the gig economy. 

Subject matter experts on-demand

The fact is that talent has been dropping out of old corporate paradigms for some time now. They are choosing something different from the 60-hour work week, extensive travel and work-life balances that do not favour life, family or interests outside of work.

Senior talent wants projects, not jobs which were beginning to feel like albatrosses hanging around their necks. They see themselves as subject matter experts who are called in for their expertise on a project.

The trend was well underway before the pandemic, but the COVID-related lockdowns became the rocket fuel for the phenomenon as workers went remote and companies scrambled to fill talent gaps.

Technologies like video conferencing platforms made it possible for talent to work from anywhere and enjoy freedoms not possible on the old corporate hamster wheel.  

Power balance has shifted towards the talent

Meanwhile, the corporate world was confronting the problem of talent shortages after decades of downsizing and hope that automation could replace humans in the office. 

That promise did not deliver as leaders realized that making old-world models leaner would not work with new-world realities of technological advances and remote working expectations.

New platforms and databases are giving freelance workers opportunities to advertise their skills and experience to potential employers. The power shifted from employers who used to choose from a selection of candidates to talent who is now choosing who they want to work for. 

When workers are in control, they can decide how they spend their time. They can reduce expenses of commuting and parking, and use the time saved to work on projects. The net result is more income and more time. 

For employers, it’s no longer just a matter of improving benefits and work-life balance on the job to lure workers back. That ship has sailed.

Corporate leaders are now confronting the reality that they need flexible SuperTemps to keep up with the neck-breaking speed of change and to develop new future-proofing models.

The pivot is now to agility and speed. Companies need talent now and they need talent that is ready to hit the ground running with minimal onboarding, training and hand-holding.

This is where the senior-level SuperTemps are stepping in and filling the gap. The talent now in demand is highly-specialized skillsets and experience.

There is no sign that these changes will slow down any time soon. Talent knows this. And if they don’t know it already, employers should pay attention to the SuperTemps. sho


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