PRO Unlimited Unveils February Job Market Trends Report for the Modern Workforce

Data points to an increase in pay among contractors in the technology and healthcare sectors, and a tech talent exodus from the San Francisco Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO--()--PRO Unlimited, a global innovator of contingent workforce management software and services, today announced new hiring trends among the modern workforce (i.e. non-employees, contractors, consultants) based on the company’s year-over-year customer data. The report culls anonymized data from its robust client base, which includes many of the largest brands worldwide, and identifies key trends among this rapidly expanding subset of the workforce that is shaping the future of work.

“There is a major transformation happening in the workforce today. Companies are moving away from full-time employees and embracing a more flexible pool of talent, as the bottom-line benefits of engaging contractor labor are clearer than ever,” said Kevin Akeroyd, CEO of PRO Unlimited. “Employers benefit from significantly reduced overhead and the ability to take a nimbler approach to hiring. At the same time, workers are pleased with having increased flexibility and opportunity to expand their skill set at a faster pace by taking on shorter, more meaningful projects or selecting longer, non-full-time job opportunities.”

In the last year, the pandemic forced organizations to go remote and realize the remote workforce is a viable, highly productive option for many positions. In addition, 2020 drove an exodus of skilled white-collar workers from major, more expensive cities to lower-cost and sometimes, more rural areas. As the location of work becomes less of a factor and work hours more flexible, employers are leveraging AI and machine learning to directly find and source candidates in new markets.

In February 2021, PRO Unlimited examined hiring and pay rate trends across industries and roles for the modern workforce (i.e. non-employees, contractors, consultants) year-over-year. Key findings include:

Tech talent leaves the San Francisco Bay Area for other markets, while the need for healthcare workers in COVID-19 “hotspots” and major cities increases.

  • The number of tech positions that were filled in California decreased year-over-year by 21%, but they increased in Washington (20%) and New York (35%).
  • In healthcare, the number of positions that were filled increased in California by 6% year-over-year, while that number doubled in New York and tripled in New Jersey.
  • Overall, the hiring activity for large metropolitan areas saw a modest decrease, while there was a modest increase in positions that were filled in smaller cities with a more attractive cost of living and/or weather.

Technology and healthcare saw the largest pay increases for workers, while the consumer products industry has seen a steady decrease since 2018. Roles in the technology and healthcare sectors will continue to see an increase in demand this year.

  • Pay rates in the technology sector are increasing at the fastest rate, rising 29% year-over-year.
    • Solution architects saw significant pay rate increases at 17%, followed by software engineers (14%), UX designers (6%) and developers (4%).
    • Hiring for job titles associated with “cloud computing” focused more on middle-tier candidates, with pay rates dropping 4%.
    • Desktop support rates increased by 5%, followed by technical support at 3%.
  • The healthcare sector had the highest overall increase since 2018 at an average of 19% per year.
    • As the need for registered nurses continued, pay rates also saw significant increases (24%) in year-over-year pay, followed by scientists (4%).
  • Pay rates for the professional sector continued to increase 13% year-over-year, but were down from the 19% increase in 2018.
    • Business analyst, project manager and customer service rep rates increased by 1%, while administrative assistants saw a decline of 1%.
  • The consumer products sector has been decreasing since 2018, at an average of 4% year-over-year.

The supply of data-focused roles is now meeting the demand.

  • Positions filled for data analyst roles increased by 5% year-over-year, but pay decreased by 1% due to a shift toward hiring more entry-level candidates.
  • Data scientists had a decrease of 5% in overall average pay, but almost double the hiring volume.

The uncertainty of 2020 caused a higher percentage of workers to finish out their assignments.

  • Contingent workers with the lowest pay rates were most likely to leave their assignments in 2020, while workers with the highest pay rates were the most likely to complete them.
    • Across pay grades, non-nursing workers in healthcare were more likely to finish their assignments in 2020, with those paid between $15-$25/hour (7%) more likely, which increased with roles $75-$100/hour (11%).
    • Entry-level tech workers finishing out their assignments increased by 20%, while consumer product workers saw a drastic increase in the number of workers finishing out their assignments.

You can learn more about the findings and download the full PRO Unlimited report here.

About PRO Unlimited

PRO Unlimited offers the industry's most comprehensive and holistic platform for contingent workforce management, and helps organizations around the world address the costs, risks and quality issues associated with managing the non-employee workforce. PRO's platform consists of integrated SaaS software and services solutions that are built on the world's most robust contingent workforce data set, spanning over 30 years. A pioneer and innovator in the industry, PRO's platform provides solutions for the procurement and management of contingent labor, global rate intelligence, direct sourcing, 1099/co-employment risk management, third-party payroll, and diversity and inclusion.


Aircover Communications
Gillian Roberts


Aircover Communications
Gillian Roberts