A decade ago, author and workplace guru, Daniel Pink popularized a ‘free agent nation’ — where instead of employees, high-level experts would be hired to work on a temporary basis for companies. Today, post-recession, it looks like the ‘supertemp’ is here to stay.
Basically supertemps are top managers and professionals—from lawyers to CFOs to consultants—who’ve been trained at top schools and companies and choose to pursue project-based careers independent of any major firm. They are pulled in by top companies to handle mission-critical work that used to previously be handled by employees or established firms. Supertemps love the autonomy and flexibility that temporary and project-based work offer. Plus, the financial compensation that they earn is comparable, and at times, even more than what they would earn as an employee.
Most supertemps are refugees from big corporations, who, after tiring of the long hours, endless meetings and wasting 30% to 40% of their productivity time have decided to take back their careers and life. Technology—laptops, mobile phones, wireless internet connection— makes this new work style easy. As is evident, traditional models of work are being upended by a convergence of the emerging desires of top professionals and the evolving needs of 21st-century organizations. Supertemps are growing in number, and they are definitely on the brink of changing how business works.