The Golden Age of Contingent Is Here: But Employers Must Embrace the Opportunity

Published: 26 Mar 2021

The world of work has entered ‘the golden age of contingent’ that could set businesses up for the best possible growth in a post-Covid world, but only if the momentum is maintained. That’s according to global leader in talent acquisition and managed workforce solutions, Guidant Global.

Speaking at an online event with fellow industry experts, Brian Salkowski, COO of Guidant Global discussed the main contingent workforce solutions trends in store for 2021, including:

- Diversity of suppliers will increase: The events of last year have driven equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) to the top of the corporate agenda. This focus has extended ED&I initiatives to talent suppliers, managed services providers and recruitment outsourcing firms. To truly cultivate diversity, external talent partners need to first reflect an inclusive culture and an internal commitment to ED&I to credibly sustain outreach and engagement efforts amongst the communities they support. Without this commitment from partners, enterprises risk falling short of their aspirations to foster ED&I as a public and corporate good.

- Statement of Work (SoW) uptick will continue, but transparency will be key: With budget control crucial in a difficult economy, an increasing number of businesses have reviewed their external workforce spend. For many, it quickly became clear last year that there were gaps of information relating to purchased and outsourced services managed through SoWs that had to be addressed. At the same time, the quick shift to remote work heightened the focus on how projects are structured and managed. In this new environment, a growing preference has emerged towards outcome and deliverable based purchasing to streamline budgets and improve supplier accountability. At the same time, improved visibility and access to this service category will enable organisations to effectively scale workforces up and down.

- The contingent voice has secured its seat at the table: The pandemic has pushed the talent discussion to the boardroom agenda. The ability to complete a holistic workforce diagnostic and identify who is employed and how they are contracted has never been so important. A ‘contingent voice’ needs to be at the table and maintained in a post-Covid environment. Unless this opportunity is supported with continued action to drive and improve external workforce engagement, the opportunity to benefit from total talent management will be diluted.

As Brian explained, those employers that grasp this opportunity to capitalise on these trends and maintain the momentum will likely be the drivers of economic recovery post-Covid:

“The pandemic has thrown a wealth of challenges at businesses across the globe, but it has also accelerated a number of positive actions in the contingent workforce space. Many of the trends that we’re witnessing now were already happening before the pandemic, but we’ve certainly experienced a much faster pace of change in these aspects than we would have expected. We’re in an age where ‘outcome as a service’ is a priority and organisations now realise they can package work up and have this managed outside of their business. In this new era, external talent has become an inextricable part of an enterprise’s strategic workforce plan and a critical competitive differentiator that can set businesses up for the best possible growth in a post-Covid world.”

“The discussions we’re having are no longer centred on the transactional element of contingent workforce solutions, but rather contributing to the long-term success of an organisation. An MSP’s place at the board table has been well and truly cemented, but for 2021 the focus now is taking this position further in the new normal.”

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