W-2 or 1099? 3 Steps to Help You Understand the Difference

Whether you’re adding gig work or freelancing with your “regular” work, finding jobs through a staffing agency, or just getting started on your taxes – it can be confusing to know which employment tax form to complete.

January 14, 2021
Two papers labeled W2 and 1099

Whether you’re adding gig work or freelancing with your “regular” work, finding jobs through a staffing agency, or just getting started on your taxes – it can be confusing to know which employment tax form to complete. When comparing different forms, a common question asked is “Am I filling out the right one?” While your employer determines this when you first start working with them, it helps to know some of the key differences between a W-2 employee and a 1099-MISC worker.

The easiest differentiator between the two types of workers is whether taxes are withheld. Workers using a 1099-MISC form are considered self-employed independent contractors. Social Security and Medicare taxes are not withheld and 1099-MISC workers are required to pay their own taxes, the “self-employment” or “SE” tax.  W-2 employees have a percentage of each paycheck withheld by their employer and a portion of their employment taxes are paid for by the company. (For more information, consult the IRS and read more on their website.)

So what are other differences between 1099-MISC and W-2 employees? PeopleReady shares three key points to keep in mind.

Behavioral Control

Does your boss control what type of work you do, when, and how you do it? If yes, the company has behavioral control, most likely deeming you a W-2 worker. If you work through a staffing agency, like PeopleReady, you could be a W-2 employee with the agency. 1099-MISC workers do not have a boss they must report to, but they are required to find their own jobs and clients, create their own contracts, and manage their tax deductions.

Financial Control

Financial control applies to how a worker is paid. In many W-2 scenarios, the employer decides when the worker is paid and for how much. A 1099-MISC independent contractor will define their payment through various contracts dependent on the project and clients they work with.

Relationship with Employer

Do you have set length of time you’ll work for the employer- maybe a few shifts or a set several weeks? Or is your time of employment indefinite, as there are no plans on you leaving? Each of these factors can help determine the type of relationship, whether you’re an employee or independent contractor. Working through a staffing agency can influence this: you may be a W-2 employee through the staffing agency, being connect to jobs for an outside customer or business. You may be a W-2 employee for the agency, since you will work with them for an indefinite period of time.  It’s always a good idea to double check with your recruiter or agency representative if you’re not sure of your employment type, or with a finance expert if you have questions about your tax situation.

Ready to make money doing the jobs you want, when you want?Here’s where to start

5 Skills to Be a Successful Worker During a Natural Disaster

Here are 5 attributes that help make a successful worker in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

disaster recovery worker

When communities begin to rebuild after any sort of natural disaster, support from a disaster recovery team makes an enormous difference. Businesses of all kinds begin staffing up and hiring additional help to press forward with the work that needs to be done. While any type of help, big or small, makes an impression—there are specific skills that some disaster recovery workers embody that makes them ideal for these high-impact roles. 

Do you have the traits that make for an ideal candidate to help affected communities recuperate? Here are 5 attributes that help make a successful worker in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Excellent Communicator

Strong communication skills play a big part in disaster relief. Being able to properly update, convey needs, and connect with other players is key. There isn’t always much time to get a message across, so having the ability to interact and communicate well can make someone a great individual for disaster relief work. Workers with strong communication skills have the ability to engage with colleagues and people of all kinds, at different levels in the organization.


With so many moving parts and people, processes continually changing, and circumstances differing from place to place, being able to adapt in many scenarios is truly valuable. Operations may be going one way at a certain moment and a few beats later, completely change. It takes someone who can think quickly on their feet and use critical thinking paired with common sense to make strong decisions that may ultimately effect whole teams.


Processes aren’t likely to be running as smoothly as they would be under normal circumstances, potentially creating bottlenecks and delays in everything from scheduling and timing to deliveries and approvals. When operations are held up, it takes a worker with patience to weather last-minute changes well.


Sometimes the smallest items can make the biggest difference. Noticing details on a job site is imperative for all aspects from safety to accounting. Disaster recovery work includes many players doing different tasks, so keeping a keen eye on details and following instructions makes progression a lot simpler.


We never know exactly when a disaster is going to show up, which means showing up on time is especially important for workers tackling disaster recovery. There are tons of people, even whole communities, counting on your help—which means reliability and promptness is absolutely necessary when showing up for work.

Ready to use your skills to help with disaster recovery? Businesses need people like you—and PeopleReady is committed to connecting great workers with them.

5 Traits Employers Are Looking for

See how you can turn your temporary position into a permanent one or score that big promotion with these career tips.

December 6, 2020
what employers are looking for

When you start a job, first-day jitters show up and you’re worried about making a big mistake. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first job or your 10th—it’s a universal experience. Luckily, the first day usually goes great—as do the days that come after. After all, you got hired because someone thought you could do the job well, and they’re right!

But if you don’t just want to do the job well—if you want to excel—then take a look at the qualities PeopleReady has found that employers want to see in their standout employees. They’re not groundbreaking, but they are often hard to find. Exhibit these traits and employers are likely to turn your temporary position into a permanent one or consider you for a promotion when the time comes.

1. Punctuality

Why? A team, no matter how big or small, only works when everyone is doing their part. If you’re late, that means customers are waiting or someone else is staying late to cover your shift. Or maybe without you there just aren’t enough people for work to get done. Managers have a lot to deal with on a daily basis; they don’t have time to wonder if their employees will show up to do their jobs.

2. Flexibility

Why? No one wants plans to fall apart—especially not the person in charge. But it’s going to happen, and the team should help take stress out of the situation, not add to it. A rigid mindset that refuses to budge is not helpful to anyone on the team. When you see a situation change, try to figure out what’s needed of you now and forget about your outdated plans.

3. Proactive Mindset

Why? Everyone is (hopefully) doing their jobs, but the boss is going to notice the person who does more than just their job. This doesn’t mean they want you doing someone else’s job and neglecting your duties, but they want to see someone who identifies an opportunity and offers up a solution.  

4. Communication

Why? First, many problems can be solved with a simple conversation. If you’ve ever gotten lost driving somewhere and thought, “I should’ve double checked the directions before I wasted all that time,” then you understand what can happen if you don’t communicate clearly with your boss about your work. Another reason is that there are a lot of moving parts to any business, so even the best manager can’t know everything that’s going on at all times. Your manager expects you to bring any pertinent problems to their attention and to give progress reports at the right times. They can’t help you if they don’t know what’s wrong, and they don’t want to hear the news from angry customers (or an angry boss).

5. Critical Thinking

Why? The most obvious reason a manager values critical thinking is that they have one more person helping them solve problems. Another reason is that they now know there is someone on their team they can trust. Whether that means a promotion in the future or more responsibility now, a manager doesn’t want to lose the worker who’s making their life easier. 

3 Reasons You Want a Career in the Skilled Trades

Those with career and technical educations are even more likely to be employed than those with academic credentials. Let’s look at a few reasons why the skilled trades are a worthy career route.

January 15, 2020

It’s clear that there are benefits of continued education beyond high school: greater employability, increased average income… but what may be less apparent is that an advanced degree doesn’t always equate to a Bachelor’s or attending a 4-year college program. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education reports that those with career and technical educations are even more likely to be employed than those with academic credentials. More and more, the opportunities in the skilled trades are being highlighted while more companies try and recruit new talent in joining the industry.

PeopleReady looks at a few reasons why the skilled trades are a worthy career route:

The demand is high.

With many of the Baby Boomer generation retiring out of their trades roles and more projects starting that require construction workers, welders, plumbers, electricians, and other specialists – the demand for skilled craftspeople is high. Now, 70 percent of construction companies throughout the nation are struggling to find the workforce they need. The U.S. Department of Education reports an expected 68 percent more job openings in infrastructure-related fields over the next five years and the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates one-third of new jobs will be in construction, health, and personal care. That’s a lot of jobs in the skilled trades that need skilled craftspeople. There are more jobs than workers in the medium-skill level, which isn’t the case for high-skill and low-skill work.

Source: National Skills Coalition

The pay is competitive.

For many areas in the skilled trades, tradespeople are likely to see a quick and strong return on investment. Consider the significant debt the majority of college graduates carry along with two additional years of schooling before getting to work; then compare to those pursuing a vo-tech or trade school degree who begin making money earlier, with less debt. The cost difference is noticeable.

Source: College Board Statistics

The jobs are important.

Concern over our country’s infrastructure has been mounting for years. And without skilled tradespeople to improve things, it will only get worse. Grant Will, a student of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, saw the benefits of the trades and says “We are the backbones of America, nothing starts without us, from the molds that make your car parts to the tools to make your clothes.” 

When asked why they chose the skilled trades, 52 percent of millennial electricians decided to enter the field for the technical involvement and problem-solving aspect, half state job security as a motivator, and another half see how jobs in the skilled trades help solve everyday challenges and make a difference in people’s lives. The work accomplished in the skilled trades industries isn’t just paramount in our nation’s growth and progress, it’s also giving people job satisfaction, flexibility, and a chance to live life out from behind a desk.

Interested in exploring the skilled trades? Or are you a skilled trades professional ready to find opportunities that meet your potential?

Connect with your local PeopleReady branch representative about potential opportunities and how to get started in the right direction.

Are You Blue-Collar Material?

No matter how well a machine makes something, we place more value on things made by hand because we can connect with and appreciate the skill it took to make them.

October 8, 2019

Here’s a label you won’t find on a product: “Proudly made by robots.” No matter how well a machine makes something, we place more value on things made by hand because we can connect with and appreciate the skill it took to make them.

It’s a persistent affirmation for a species built to work. We desire work that provides a path to master our individual talents and contribute to something meaningful along the way. For many, that means working under the open sky or outside the confines of an office, tools in hand, solving problems with sweat and skill, doing work that blends the edge of craftsmanship with art.

While not everyone is blue-collar material, many who choose college over the trades, hoping it will open a door to a financially rewarding career, incorrectly assume that skilled trades careers don’t pay as well. While many college degrees certainly provide good pay, many do not bring the equally rich reward that comes from working with your hands.

The college myth is contributing to an acute shortage of skilled trades workers. Skilled trades pros are retiring in numbers larger than the number of younger workers joining the trades to replace them. That growing shortage could mean 3 million skilled trades jobs go unfilled by 2028.

For these reasons, PeopleReady Skilled Trades is proud to be part of Generation T, a movement rekindling career interest in the skilled trades by exposing young workers to the benefits of blue-collar careers. PeopleReady Skilled Trades pros were on hand at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, where 300 high school students picked up tools to build bunk beds for orphans. And at Milford High School near Boston, Massachusetts, where more than 100 high school students built dog houses for a local animal shelter.

Those experiences are as rewarding for the PeopleReady Skilled Trades team as they are for the high school kids. Many of our pros have decades of experience in the trades and work with highly skilled craftspeople every day. But they rarely have the opportunity to see that spark in the eyes of a young worker who picks up a tool for the first time and builds something with his or her hands.

It’s an important moment that occurs in the trades but is largely absent in a corporate or office environment. Passing a trade from one generation to the next is a tradition as old as civilization. For those outside the trades, it’s easy to underappreciate how a master stonemason deftly twists a fiddle string knot onto a nail to tighten a string line, or how a journeyman carpenter quickly and accurately lays out a stair stringer with a framing square. Making it look easy takes skill and years of practice, but it starts with someone showing you how.

When a pro retires today, a lifetime of skills go with that pro—skills that are lost if not passed on to younger people in the trades. And while automation and the evolution of tools help us work more efficiently, we will always need craftspeople who are masters of those tools—those skilled pros who add the human touch to the everyday and in so doing leave a little of themselves in their work, connecting each of us with their skill.

How to Get a Job in the Skilled Trades

Careers in the skilled trades are in a peculiar spot right now.

April 29, 2019
Two workers in safety gear reviewing plans

Careers in the skilled trades are in a peculiar spot right now. The demand for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other construction-related roles is high and forecasted to continue growing. Yet, there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill these positions. There are several causes, one of which can be found in the industry’s name: workers need to be skilled. You don’t want anyone working on carpentry, electricity, or plumbing if they don’t have the expertise.

This leads to the all-too familiar Catch-22 of job hunting: You need experience to get the job, but you can’t get the job without experience. So what should you do if you want to enter the in-demand skilled trades industry?

Depending on your experience level and goals, you have options.

Get the Necessary Training

Most positions in the skilled trades require hands-on experience—often through an apprenticeship—and some even require certifications. You can usually find the necessary qualifications in the job posting, but you can also get a general overview for some roles on PeopleReady’s Skilled Trades page.

Certain businesses have their own process for an apprenticeship, which means they provide on-the-job experience and mentorship needed to advance, eventually becoming an expert in your own right. You can also explore opportunities through the U.S. Department of Labor’s program for apprentices. If you’re in a position to earn a certification on your own, it brings you one step closer to being qualified for some roles. However, many employers will work with you while you earn working experience and gain your certification.

Put Your Experience to Good Use

Unsurprisingly, if you already have relevant experience in the skilled trades, your transition into the industry is off to a good start. First, you can look for roles that make use of your work history so you’re prepared when you show up for the first day on the job. However, you might have experience in one area but not in the concentration where you want to build your career. You can still take roles that rely on your current experience so you have your foot in the door and continue to build your expertise. Be open about your desire to learn new skills and look for opportunities that let you begin down that path.

Tell Your Staffing Company

One benefit of working with a staffing company like PeopleReady Skilled Trades is that you’re not navigating your career alone. If you don’t yet have much experience in the field, or if you have experience in one specialty but want to transition to another, tell the staff at your local PeopleReady Skilled Trades branch. They can help find the roles that will get you closer to your goals and accrue the experience that will open up more opportunity. Take advantage of the expertise and assistance the PeopleReady Skilled Trades branch staff offers.

Debunked: 5 Myths About Skilled Trades

In case you haven’t heard, workers in the skilled trades are hard to come by—and they’re in high demand.

Worker with text that reads "Myths Debunked"

In case you haven’t heard, workers in the skilled trades are hard to come by—and they’re in high demand. With all the talk of automation and historically low unemployment rates, you might have missed the ongoing search for skilled workers. Skilled trades workers aren’t entering the workforce quickly enough to keep up with demand. One of the reasons is because many workers have some misconceptions around the skilled trades industry. Luckily for you, PeopleReady Skilled Trades here to give you the facts. Explore five common myths about skilled trades and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: “These jobs don’t pay well.”

Truth: Skilled trades positions offer a variety of wages, and like other industries, the more experience you have, the likelier you are to earn more. But that’s not the only factor to consider: the size and scope of the project you work on can affect your pay. For example, working for a company that has a contract with the government could pay more than a role that works on short-term or smaller projects. Still, the likelihood of earning a living wage is typically higher for those entering the skilled trades than many other careers. Another positive of the skilled trades is you don’t need to go into debt earning an expensive degree in order to begin working and earning in this industry.

Myth 2: “You can’t find work year round.”

Truth: People need plumbers, electricians, and carpenters through every season. Ask any homeowner when they last needed one of these experts; most of them will be able to give you recent examples, from varying times throughout the year. Between home renovations, household emergencies (like burst pipes), and large-scale projects, skilled trades are in demand 365 days a year.

Myth 3: “I don’t have enough experience.”

Truth: That might be true—right now. Certain skilled trades positions require certifications or hours of experience. Others allow for on-the-job training and learning. Several require formal apprenticeships, where you get hands-on experience that lets you work while gaining experience. Learn more about the requirements of a particular role before you decide not to apply; there are plenty of learning opportunities that can quickly earn you the experience required.

Myth 4: “It’s a dying industry.”

Truth: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), skilled trades professions are growing as quickly as the rest of the overall workforce, with plumbers and pipefitters growing at twice the rate. Although technology has become part of these jobs and helps make some of them safer or more efficient, it’s not replacing them entirely. These jobs need the expertise and critical thinking that only actual people can bring. If you have an electrical emergency, you want someone to show up ASAP ready to fix the problem. These jobs will continue to be vital and won’t stop growing. 

Myth 5: “It’s boring.”

Truth: Any job can be boring if it’s not the right fit for you, but skilled trades positions aren’t likely to be boring for anyone. For one thing, you’re not spending your day in a cubicle or in front a computer screen. You might find yourself in a factory, a person’s home, a high-rise, a government facility, or any number of other locations. Your day varies from project to project, so long-term repetition is unlikely. If you’re looking for a boring gig, you’re not going to find it in skilled trades.

3 In-Demand Jobs in Skilled Trades

These are 3 skilled trades jobs that will grow in demand over the next decade and be great career paths to pursue.

April 26, 2019
Three workers at different skilled trade jobs

Today’s students are more likely to have their eyes on four-year colleges and the jobs that come along with them than they are to think about vocational programs and careers in the skilled trades. This trend isn’t new, but it’s leading to a new problem: a shortage of workers.

According to data from the Construction Labor Market Analyzer (CLMA), the cause of this shortage is easy to explain but it will take some effort to solve. Today’s skilled trades workforce is declining due to retiring craftspeople and post-Great Recession career switches. With the last wave of Baby Boomers set to retire in 2029, the labor shortage is prime to take another big hit. Meanwhile, the journey to become a seasoned professional is a multi-year process. If too few people join the industry, the retirees will outpace the new talent.

This creates an opportunity for craftspeople who want to find jobs that are in demand now and could lead to reliable, long-term careers (that pay well). If you haven’t given much thought to a career in the skilled trades, now is the right time. Although the process to be considered an industry expert might be lengthy, it comes years of on-the-job training. In other words, working in the skilled trades now allows you to gain experience while earning a paycheck.

We looked at data from the CLMA to identify jobs that have are at risk of being understaffed in the coming years. These are 3 skilled trades jobs that will only grow in demand


Perhaps it’s not surprising that carpentry has a bright future. A growing population means additional housing, workplaces, and health care facilities. Innovative technology is changing the types of buildings we live and work in, which means constant renovations and updating. That’s on top of the everyday needs we have for carpenters, such as additions to homes and repairs. The future for carpentry is bright.  


Similar to the increased demand in carpenters, industrial and commercial electricians are integral into new and existing construction projects. Electricians also have the unique need to broaden their skill set as technology becomes part of our everyday lives. Think of the ever-changing gadgets we use at home: programmable lights, security systems, remote thermostats. As our lives become more tech savvy—and the line between IT expert and electrician blurs—we’ll be relying more and more on these experts.


Welders are essential to construction projects of all types, so their bright future alongside carpenters and electricians makes sense. What you might not realize is that welders can use their skills in a variety of scenarios: manufacturing cars, production warehouses, building bridges, and other construction sites. Their versatility puts them in high demand and also leaves room for each welder to choose their preferred career path.

If you’re ready to head down the path of an in-demand career with a bright future, search for skilled trades jobs now with PeopleReady Skilled Trades.

Why High School Grads Should Consider Trade School

Most high school graduates are still pursuing college degrees, while other valid options still exist such as trade schools.

July 9, 2018

Most high school graduates are still pursuing college degrees, while other valid options still exist such as trade schools. More investment and emphasis is needed on trade schools, in both skilled trades and the manufacturing industry.  

As today’s students continue to choose traditional college over trade school, our skills gap will continue to widen and the labor shortage becomes even more pronounced. Continuing to encourage our students to enroll in trade schools will help close the income gap, as well as address the overall industry labor shortage.

Help Close the U.S. Income Gap

According to research, trades schools are the better bet to solve the U.S. income gap with researchers saying, “There are too many four-year colleges serving too many students, and too few institutions with greater focus on vocational education and training.” The studies also found that relatively unskilled laborers benefit from access to vocational education, thus helping them achieve the education necessary to narrow the gap with skilled labor. Additional access to trade schools not only helps train the new generation but will also train those workers already in the workforce, operating in more general positions.

Industry Labor Shortage

It’s no secret: There is a very serious labor shortage within the skilled trades industry. Trade schools are the most realistic answer to building a pipeline of new talent for the next pool of available workers. If employers along with vendors such as staffing companies continue to support and build up local trade schools, it will serve to help the industry. Stressing points like the cost of college versus the cost of a trade school is a good selling point, as the average bachelor’s degree costs $127,000 while the average trade school degree costs only $33,000. Local initiatives like Construction Trades Day also help, as they provide strong ways to introduce high school students to career opportunities within the construction industry.

The skilled workforce shortage and U.S. income gap are two things that additional trade school enrollment can help address. By continuing to support this path of education, PeopleReady employers and their partners can make a difference for generations to come.

6 Soft Skills Every Employee Needs

Soft and hard skills are both important, but soft skills are often minimized, but without them, it’s nearly impossible to thrive in a career. Here are 6 soft skills to know.

October 16, 2017
soft skills for associates, employee, ,temp workers

Skills in the workplace are typically broken down into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are defines as specific, teachable abilities that can be defines and measured. Some examples are the ability to use software programs.  Soft skills are traits that enable some to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

Both set of skills are very important to possess, but today we are going to highlight soft skills. Soft skills are often minimized, but without them it’s nearly impossible to thrive in a career. Here are seven soft skills employers look for in candidates:

Communication Skills

  • Having the ability to communicate effectively whether written or verbally, allows you to connect with others within your organization. Communication is how information is transferred from one place to another. Ensure the audience receives your message as it was intended.


  • A good leader is constantly motivated to improve and thinks strategically, even if they are not managing a team. A good leader contributes to the vision and mission of their company, helping to drive success.

Time Management

  • Managing time effectively means allocating the right amount of time to the right activity. Assigning time to activities based on their importance is a useful way to decrease stress, and boost productivity.


  • Employees who can encounter a problem and share effective solutions are a very valuable member to any team. Employers appreciate staff who can independently approach problems with strategic thinking.

Positive Attitude

  • Positive attitudes bring optimism and motivates a team towards success. This frame of mind is more focused on solutions, as opposed to the problem.


  • Confidence is defined as your assessment of your own self-worth. Employees who believe in their abilities strive for new opportunities and accomplish more than those who question their skills.

At PeopleReady we take pride in helping our associates develop in-demand skills that will allow them to secure jobs in a variety of industries. 

PeopleReady Skilled Trades is a specialized division of PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI). Since 1987, we have connected tradespeople and work across a wide range of trades, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, solar installations and more. Whether you need a single tradesperson or require a coordinated effort to dispatch skilled workers across multiple projects, we ensure you have the right people with the right tools, on-site and on time.