By Debbie Bolla
When I joined the magazine six years ago, the economy was about to enter the worst recession of my generation to date. The timing was fortuitous for me because I had the opportunity to get a clear-cut view of how outsourcing could really shine. One area in particular that really took off was contingent labor management. Times were tough for businesses, and those looking to fill holes—with an already fractured workforce—turned to temporary workers. Most organizations earned reasonable gains from leveraging this approach, catapulting an upward trend.
According to industry research, the average percent of the workforce considered contingent, temporary, or contract labor has increased as follows:
• 2009 reported 18 percent
• 2010 showed 20 percent
• 2011 reported 23 percent
• 2012 showed 26 percent
• 2013 and beyond growing to 30 percent
As the economy came out of the recession, it became obvious that leveraging continent labor was here to stay. Contingent labor has evolved as much as it has grown in the last six years. In our cover story, Through a New Lens, writer Russ Banham explores how temp labor is not always considered a quick fill anymore. He points to three organizations—Duke Energy, Frontier Communications, and IMS Health—and explains how each seek key skills through highly specialized temporary labor.
In addition to value as a driver of growth, we are also seeing how a shift in workforce demographics is triggering both organizations and workers to approach the way they work in a new light. Research shows that Millennials are likely to have nearly 15 jobs during their careers and baby boomers are retiring later. What does this mean? Both are perfectly suited for working on-demand. On page 30, we take a closer look at an emerging classification: independent contractors/freelancers/on-demand talent (depending who you ask). These workers deliver specific needs for organizations—without a tax form—but managing them can be tricky. Hiring On-Demand offers advice.
Says Christopher Dwyer, research director of Ardent Partners who has been tracking the contingent market for years: “Today’s on-demand, flex economy dictates that companies across the globe integrate non-employee workers into their organizations at an evolutionary pace, with true concentrations of talent beyond traditional measures.”
It looks this segment of the workforce is going to continue to grow at a sprint’s pace.