The best part-time jobs for 2015 run the full spectrum of the three avenues that constitute part-time employment. One is the traditional part-time job, which offers steady employment at fewer than 40 hours per week. Another is freelance or consulting employment, and the third is seasonal.
"It's necessary to make the distinction between these types," says Art Koff, founder of RetiredBrains.com, based in Chicago. "Project jobs are more managerial, while temporary jobs are typically more hourly wage, like retail."
Companies often contract out a wide range of responsibilities to qualified part-timers, such as contractors. For example, not all businesses or organizations can afford on-site IT professionals, so retaining part-time expertise to address any technology issues that might arise is a logical alternative.
For many contract computer programmers and network/computer systems administrators, they can earn a living from such part-time assignments, or they can focus on supplementing their income by floating from business to business.
At a higher level, a fresh, outside perspective from a contract or freelance management analyst can be an asset to a company's leadership. For management analysts seeking new challenges, this can be a rewarding career path, says Koff.
Of course, for employers that experience a rush at one particular time of year, part-time hires are necessary to meet that demand. For instance, accountants are in high demand every spring before tax time, and delivery truck drivers have no problem finding work around the holidays. The suppliers sending out a surplus of products at the holidays also need material movers, so job seekers looking for extra money at that time of year often can find work in warehouses.
"Hiring an independent contractor is low-risk to employers," says Naresh Vissa, who turned employers' low-risk into personal gain after graduating from Duke University's business school and founding consulting firm Krish Media & Marketing Inc. in Houston.
As a result, opportunities are rising fast. Part-time hiring, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines as one to 34 hours per week, increased considerably amid the economic recovery from the recession of 2008.
Part-time and temporary employment has remained high since, but far less workers are taking these openings because it's the only work they can find.
With the implementation of health care reform, many companies may opt to hire part time employees over full time employees, or reduce hours so they don't have to pay benefits. The surge in part-time employment may be because the Affordable Care Act has resulted in companies cutting employee hours to get around providing health care to employees working more than 30 hours a week.
Some part-timers are retirees seeking supplemental income, says Koff, who adds that the steady income source of part-time employment can provide retirees essential funds to meet the sometimes overwhelming demnd of healthcare costs.
"Most people haven't a clue that the cost of healthcare, even once they're on Medicare, is as big as it is," he says, estimating a figure close to $250,000 post-retirement.
Another benefit of part-time work is that for older workers not yet at retirement age, it can be a gateway to entrepreneurship.
"After a successful, 20-year career in the corporate world, I transitioned to freelancing five years ago and never looked back," says CaroleAnne Hardy, founder of The Advisor's Voice, a full-service, contract marketing consultant company in Los Angeles.
Turning part-time or contract work into a full-time business is one way in which professionals in struggling fields have overcome slowed hiring. Consider Dan Stetler, a copywriter in Chicago.
"I started my freelance copywriting career 3 1/2 years ago and have nearly tripled the income I would have made in my previous career track," he says.
Stetler tested the waters before becoming a full-time freelancer by taking on contract work while still holding full-time employment. But he dove into the world of contract work with gusto once he found success there.
Trying freelance work on a truly part-time basis at first is one tip Vissa offers others considering this path. Establishing a clientele, no matter the line of contract work, is crucial to offsetting the inherent risk, he says.
However, Vissa adds: "After picking up a few clients, being an independent becomes just as risky as working a full-time, corporate job."
Another bit of advice for potential full-time contractors is becoming a 'Jack-or-Jill of All Trades' within the given job. A market research analyst offering his or her service to temporary clients can be a full-service employee, as Hardy demonstrates.
"My services include a monthly social media subscription that provides customized, curated posts based on a tailored strategy, blog writing, search engine optimization, website writing, ghostwriting and PR," she says.
The following are our 10 best part-time and temporary jobs for 2015, using criteria from the CareerCast Jobs Rated report. Wage information and hiring outlook is culled from BLS figures. Hiring figures are for all new jobs, part-time and full-time, by 2022.
Part-time, temporary and freelance accountants are in high demand every spring as tax day approaches.