Trends & Insights
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Contingent Workforce Trends

Building and leading a contingent labor force comprising contractors, part-time employees, and freelancers have become integral to the new normal. 

A working understanding of contingent workforce strategies and contingent workforce trends can help you capitalize on the opportunities and advantages emanating from this trend.

Several benefits grace a contingent labor force, mostly fiscal. Before diving into the trends let us help you make a good case for building a contingent force strategy in your organization.

The Business Case for A Contingent Workforce Strategy -- Why should you know the trends?

Before the virulent C hit town, remote work was a luxury for the higher-ups who were up breathing crisp air. Recruiters and managers were stringent, if not hesitant, to entrust their employees with working from their homes. One heuristic reveals that 44% of companies in the USA didn’t allow remote work.  

Then came the blanket of despair with its viruses, virulence, and variants. Remote work became a necessity for businesses to seamlessly operate and keep business empires from crumbling. Employees needed to adapt to working from home. 

This paved the way for an unprecedented adoption of remote technologies and remote workforce management strategies. One of those strategies was turning towards a contingent labor force to accentuate specialist roles and functions. 

This is why a contingent workforce strategy is vital for your business’s growth. Now that working remotely is a cultural thing and an important magnet to attract talent, learning various contingent workforce trends can open your eyes to novel modes of thinking while planning your workforce. 

Here are four specific reasons you could consider before planning a contingent workforce strategy.

1. The growth (explosion) in the contingent labor force

The growth in the contingent workforce is largely thanks to the changes in modern work cultures and technology.

 The millennial generation which now occupies the majority of the entry to intermediate level positions prefers flexibility over traditional benefits such as insurance and bonuses. In fact, their expectations from an employer border on bold that these supplements are considered more of a duty than an obligation.

Telecommuting or remote interactions are now becoming mainstream preferences. 

It should be noted that the contingent labor force bomb exploded not only due to employee preference. Technology also fuelled this explosion.

From an employer’s perspective, the uncertainty during the pandemic and the adoption of an agile recruitment model made employing contingent workers more sensible.

Thus, a growing preference for new methods of work and the tech to facilitate them is proving to be a winning combination expediting the growth of contingent labors.   

2. Increasing adoption by your competition (mostly)

Gartner revealed that about 32% of organizations in the USA prefer hiring contingent workers rather than full-time employees. One of the main reasons is the reduced costs. 

Employees see contingent workers as specialists on demand who don’t need to be provided with employee benefits and social security. 

This sneaky contingent workforce strategy seemed to have garnered the eyeballs of HR strategists and leaders around the world. Advantages such as flexibility and reduced costs are tapped by companies from around the world. 

This may have contributed to the growth in the contingent workers in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. 

In the year 2020, CXC, HR and Procurement specialists, published a report shedding light on the 26% increase in contingent workers in Asia. They also noticed a similar trend in New Zealand and Australia, where 1 in 3 employees was a contingent employee. The subcontinent accounts for 163,000 contingent workers.

Since the rise of independent contractors and freelancers is evident, it is wise to turn your attention towards these labors before your competitors gobble the best brains.

3. Are contingent workers the secret to retaining great talent and global expansion?

A contingent employee is someone who is hired when a project is hot and on its heels. 

This is why a strategy for these employees is a wonderful case to present to your C-suite executives. Higher-ups are always clamoring for hiring great talent and retaining them. 

Contractors and freelancers come with super-specialized skill sets requiring less (yet insightful) onboarding. Expectations on them to perform from the get-go are high.

Secondly and importantly, a non-employee workforce or a workforce of contractors is a flexible setup that can be used to set specialized teams in new markets and disband quickly. During uncertain times, a contingent workforce can be employed to work on pilot projects. 

These increased levels of flexibility are so vital that 80% of large US companies plan to increase their reliance on such laborers. 

Such is the flexibility of a contingent worker. And their flexibility is a strong business case you could make, to sell to your c-suite to create a contingent workforce strategy.

4. A Well-thought Contingent Workforce Strategy Can Benefit Your D&I Goals

Time and again, regardless of the size of the business, a diverse workforce has proven to benefit organizations. Diversity, gender, and ethnicity, in a workforce, have contributed to the following:

  1. Increased productivity
  2. Multitude of perspectives
  3. Healthy work ethics emanating from different cultures
  4. Profound learning
  5. Positive employer branding
  6. Enhanced creativity
  7. A safe and inclusive workplace

Your contingent workforce strategy can aim at including a diverse workforce offering opportunities to the shunned, oppressed, and disabled. This effectively improved your employer branding as well.

Speaking of inclusion, have you set inclusivity goals for your company? Inclusivity is basically inculcating a work culture in your workplace. 

Recruiting part-timers can also help you with your D&I goals. 

Discover 7 New Contingent Workforce Trends ( & 11 Quick Win Strategies )

Now that you can make your case for a contingent workforce to your higher-ups, let’s divulge seven trends and eleven strategies to win at contingent workforce management. 

For the sake of comprehensiveness, we have explored three themes in contingent workforce trends: hiring, technology, and management. 

Hiring -- A holistic view

Hiring is the first and foremost part of building a winning contingent workforce strategy. With employees and employers getting accustomed to remote working and the benefits and ills that accompany it, newer trends have emerged in hiring non-employee workers.

1. Global hiring

Over the past few years, hiring overseas workers, particularly overseas contractors or freelancers, has been on the top of every recruiter’s mind. Meeting D&I goals showed business runners and the C-suite the benefits of a diverse workforce.

For instance, in 2015, Mckinsey reported that companies with the highest level of diversity are seen to bring in a whopping 15 times more sales revenue.

Unsurprisingly, Mckinsey’s research in 2020 found that 70% of executives hope to hire more contingent workers post-pandemic. Independent contractors and freelancers bring to the metaphorical conference table specific professional skills and best practices that they have learned from a foreign work culture. 

They also bring flexibility to an agile work environment.

This along with their application in meeting diversity goals has accelerated the trend of global hiring of a contingent workforce.

Here are a few tips to inform your global hiring to amp up your contingent workforce strategy:

  1. A global hiring strategy for a contingent workforce should be a commitment made at the top a.k.a your c-suite.
  2. Craft an effective tech stack to manage your global hiring
  3. Boldly build partnerships with vendors to manage your HR systems
  4. Engage talent continuously using social media. Employees of the contingent workforce are temporary workers who would like to know about any developments in your company.

2. Creating a flexible talent pool

The uncertainty spread by the pandemic has invoked and incited the call for adopting agile practices in hiring. This has called for the need to adopt a flexible talent pool; a must-have when you form a contingent workforce strategy.

During the pandemic agile has become a buzzword in the recruiting industry. An agile recruiting strategy works in sprints. There are more points of feedback that open cycles of improvement. 

Hence the entire hiring process becomes entirely flexible.

This requires recruiters to have talent constantly available. Thus, they shall start building a roster of contingent workers who can work remote and hybrid basis. 

This contingent workforce trend shall also motivate HRs to build talent pools - a database of job candidates who have expressed acute interest in working for your organization.  

Tips: 

  1. Use social media to constantly engage with passive candidates
  2. Build a database of flexible workers
  3. In several countries, employers do not consider working part-time with a strategic purpose. Make a case for these workers with your C-suite.

3. Be The Friendly Neighbourhood Employer of Choice

Simply put, be an employer so good that your contractor wants to work with you again and again. 

The demand for talent has risen all over the world. Earlier the contingent workforce used to consist of low-skilled labor. With an increased liking for remote work, many employees have moved to join the contingent workforce. 

According to Peter Miscovich, Managing Director at JLL Consulting about 80% of the workforce could comprise freelancers by 2030. Ten years from now, the global employee landscape will look vastly different. You wouldn’t be wanting to wave goodbye to top talent on the horizon.

So remember this contingent workforce trend.

Here are few tips to create a contingent workforce strategy around this trend:

  1. Employer branding just be part of your hiring strategy
  2. Update and respond to review on sites such as Glassdoor. 8/10 employees believe that employer branding strongly influences work preferences.
  3. Craft engaging experiences around your contractor’s lifecycle in your company. Engage with them often right from the onboarding. Post their relieving, make efforts to delight them with newsletters and job openings.
  4. Another accelerating trend in the growth in the contingent workforce is contractors and freelancers expecting to be included in your company’s growths and lows. 

4. Top contract industries

While learning about various contingent workforce trends, it is useful to know the top industries that shall see a rise in contingent labor force. 

The economy has contracted. Workers have lost their jobs and in well-developed nations, social security has covered employees in absence of employment. Although the virus is still at large, the end of the pandemic-induced lockdown has created happy thoughts for the workforce.

For instance, the demand for gig workers for field services and manufacturing is estimated to reach 88% by 2023. 

According to a CXCglobal, a global workforce employment agency, these are the industries that shall rely on contract workers heavily post-pandemic: 

 • Healthcare

 • IT 

• Distribution 

• Manufacturing 

• Transportation and delivery 

• Data scientists 

• Accounting/finance 

• Compliance 

• Legal

 • Engineering

Technological trends

In the information age, any and all industry trends are accelerated by technology. Contingent workforce trends are no alien to the impact of technology.

5. Onboarding technology

A digital onboarding process is one in which employees are onboarded - sent contracts, trained and employed - over digital mediums.  A rising preference from employees to belong to the contingent workforce demands digital transformation of your onboarding process. Hence, capitalizing on this contingent workforce trend has a high strategic purpose.

A digital onboarding impacts your wallet big time. Several costs such as manual labor, printing costs, opportunity costs are reduced. 

Also, building a global workforce requires paying heed to local compliance. Keeping in mind compliance requirements is key to building an effective contingent workforce strategy. 

Strategic tip:

Making use of a digital onboarding software, like Multiplier, helps you navigate through these tasks without any stress or risk of violations. 

6. Contractor friendly tech 

Digital onboarding has its benefits. However, this requires a tech-savvy mindset which is proving to be a big problem to tackle contractor issues and accommodate them in your company. 47% of HR leaders and managers in Asia believed that implementing technology to favor a contingent workforce is vital to an effective contingent workforce strategy.

To be honest, a single contractor-friendly technology doesn’t exist. We might be selling Multiplier, a modern-age SaaS-based solution that can propel you to global expansion and hiring greatness in under 24 hours. 

However, we do not claim that you wouldn’t need a tech stack to manage your contractor or a freelancer workforce. Although you can take advantage of Multiplier’s global payrolling solution, instant employment contract generator, and 1-click global payment feature, it still wouldn’t be enough. 

You see your contractors would still need internal learning management solutions, video platforms for asynchronous communication, etc. 

As an employer, you would be required to turn to a tech-savvy Tony Stark, and own platforms for contractor lifecycle management, and familiarize yourself with platforms such Fiverr, Upwork, etc. 

Hence you need to own a tech stack that contains a suite of tools that help create a contractor-friendly workplace.

7. Global payrolling

We have already seen the rising number of contingent workers around the globe. Employers are either going to finally fulfill their contingent workforce requirements or they shall become spoilt for choice. 

Regardless, a platform to pay employees globally is of utmost importance. New-age solutions such as tech-based EORs can greatly aid you in employing overseas workers as contractors in your company. 

Multiplier is one such EOR solution that offers a global payroll feature in its SaaS-based platform. You can add your hired overseas contractor or freelancer to our payroll and confer their legal ownership to us. Whilst we handle HR administrations, you become legally compliant to manage your worker.

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