When Execs Go Temp

It started with clerical and factory workers. But here's why the preference for short-term workers now extends to the most highly skilled employees

Willie Wingfield is working as hard as he can. He advises six Omaha, Neb., companies on their IT operations, evaluating and replacing their business applications. It's challenging, fast paced--and fleeting. Laid off in 2002, Wingfield, 49, has so far been unable to land another permanent spot and instead takes jobs through a temporary-services firm, usually for one-to-three-month projects. "I don't have a strong sense of security," he says. "As long as I can continue securing clients and billing enough to pay for myself, I'm there. But if the economy turns bad, the company may not be able to keep me on."

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