More and more U.S companies are employing temporary professionals to help protect the jobs of their full-time workforce.
More than a third of executives polled by agency Accountemps said the most important benefit of using interim workers was to avoid over-staffing followed by layoffs.
Nearly a quarter cited the ability to evaluate a prospective employee before making a final hiring decision as most valuable.
"Businesses can help to avoid the cycle of overhiring and potential layoffs through the proactive use of contingent workers during high workload periods and for special projects," said Max Messmer, Accountemps chairman.
"Instead of reacting to a short-term need with a full-time hire, employers who rely on temporary professionals can access specialized skill sets on an as-needed basis," he added.
Project work frequently led to full-time roles, he continued. "Increasingly, organisations are realising the value of using temporary assignments as a means of evaluating candidates for full-time positions.
"This provides a low-risk opportunity for managers to determine how an individual will perform on the job," Messmer added.