The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2015-2016: The Future of Work is Here: Part 2

12.15.2015, Written by Annie Wang

PictureThe business world is changing. Seemingly by the day, new technologies and strategies are redefining how work is done by pushing today’s enterprises into exciting territory as they seek competitive advantages and fresh sources of business. Within this scenario, the very notion of “talent” is actively shaping how far enterprises can go in terms of innovation, growth, and ultimate business expansion. Talent is today’s most valuable commodity, and as globalization takes its hold on businesses across the world, the dynamics around talent are being revolutionized.

To get a better understanding of this talent and how it is accessed, managed, and optimized in today’s business world, Field Nation contributed to the underwriting of a report conducted by Ardent Partners on “The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2015-2015: The Future of Work is Here.” This report covers the evolution, assessment, performance, and recommended strategies for contingent workforce management leaders so they can improve overall customer workforce management operations and results.

Last week, we discussed that 95% of organizations perceive their contingent workforce as vital to their daily operations, as well as to their success and growth.


The State of Contingent Workforce Management… and the Future of Work (cont.)

The “Future of Work” is Here

Just a few years ago, the majority of a business’s “work” was completed in-house by traditional full-time equivalents (FTEs) and professionals, with non-employee workers managing or supporting only a fraction of enterprise projects. Today, however, that line is shifting farther away, with non-employee talent supporting or completing more and more critical initiatives; Ardent’s “future of work” concept dictates that nearly every business function can benefit from non-employee labor. In fact, the State of Contingent Workforce Management research study finds that nearly 35% of today’s total workforce is comprised of non-employee workers, including temps, freelancers, statement-of-work (SOW)-based labor, independent contractors, etc. The impact of the contingent workforce can be felt across businesses of all sizes, in all regions, and across all industries. Organizations across the world can now find, source, and engage independent talent in real-time via on-demand methods, which is, by far, the strongest indicator that the “future of work” is finally here. Today’s non-employee workforce is expanding its capabilities in a broad, sweeping fashion to meet the requirements of a wide range of work and project types.

As shown in Figure 1, several sources of talent are altering the scope of contingent workforce management in varied and significant ways; these sources were chosen by survey respondents as the most “impactful” areas of non-employee talent that will actively alter the CWM programs as they continue to evolve in the months and years ahead. The sources of talent detailed in Figure 1 are the ones that are providing enhanced access to expertise and skillsets, as well as helping to support the concept of “on-demand” contingent labor.

Figure 1

Hiring management and executives must have better awareness of the new sources of non-employee talent that can transform the way business is done. By understanding where this talent exists, how it can be engaged, and the general parameters of how it should be managed, they will be able to drive additional value from the wealth of skillsets available in the on-demand talent marketplace. Online labor marketplaces (OLMs) have been a “hot” source of independent talent in recent years, as both skilled workers (who create profiles and provide relative experience and work) and businesses (who can post job requests and current demands, including the financial scope and length of a project requiring skilled work) can interact in a cloud-based environment. The on-demand nature of this setup, as well as the ease-of-access to these talent sources, has helped fuel the rise in usage of contingent workers over the past 18-to-24 months.

Similar in scope, freelancer networks offer businesses the opportunity to plug in project specifications and requirements to effectively be “matched” with the best-aligned freelance talent. Most of these networks also offer capabilities for project management and safe-and-secure payment after work is completed, eliminating some of the apprehension around a virtual work environment. (More discussion regarding freelancer management and associated solutions, such as Freelancer Management Systems (FMS), will be covered in the next chapter). “In-network” talent, which includes candidates and referrals from internal solutions (i.e. talent already contained in VMS data) and employees (personal networks), as well as social media, also play a critical role in the “future of work,” as these source of talent represent additional options for businesses as they seek top-tier skillsets. In the case of social media, businesses today can tap into their social network followers to find independent workers and/or service providers that can support their initiatives.


Coming Up: We look at how, in 2015, the contingent workforce hit its true tipping point and influenced the business world in a way that will be irreversible.

Read Part 1 of The State of Contingent Workforce Management… and the Future of Work

To read the full report, download it now.