Kerry Marker
Kerry Marker

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way companies hire—with so much volatility in the business world, bottom-line projections and forecasting have become increasingly difficult to predict. This is where a contingent workforce comes in. It offers companies a quick, easy, and financially-savvy way to fill skills gaps, find high-quality talent, cut labor costs, and give companies flexibility as the market continues to change. Here’s why everyone is talking about it:

  1. There is a new focus on contingent labor. 

Agility is very alluring for businesses at this stage, and 77% of executives see freelancers, independent contractors, and consultants playing a key role for companies moving forward. As we saw during the height of the pandemic, 32% of today’s businesses have either already replaced, or will be replacing, full-time employees with a contingent workforce to fulfill unknown needs in capacity, capability, and affordability in a post-pandemic world. 

  1. There is a lot of untapped talent… and a lot of competition.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 made unemployment rates toggle, with today’s hovering around 6%. While there is more available untapped talent in the market than there was before the pandemic, jobs are also extremely competitive as individuals enter back into the business world and companies fight to replace vacancies from 2020. Organizations in comfortable financial positions can and should capitalize on this competition to attract agile top talent and niche skilled professionals for the future!

After needing and growing accustomed to so much flexibility over the past year, today’s prospective employees are more open to contract and part-time work that allows them to stay home (some actually need to, if they have children attending school virtually). Companies have the unique opportunity to hire a larger quantity of top talent as contract/part-time employees and develop a fully capable team of experts.

  1. The employee experience is now more important than ever. 

The effects of the pandemic brought a new truth to light for many C-suite executives: employees don’t need to be in a specific office at a specific time to be productive. In today’s new normal, prospective employees know this and now crave the flexibility and seamless work experience they were able to create at home. 

To ensure this continues, companies need reliable remote technology that allows them to monitor productivity with virtual clocking-in and -out and a way to track employee email, internal communications, and work achieved. Second, to create a seamless experience, organizations need to prioritize positive telework and in-office experiences, ensuring that employees always feel connected and heard. Finally, hiring managers need to be educated about how to better engage with and take care of their contingent workforce, facilitate change management, and assess productivity. 

At the end of the day, both employees and employers have had to adjust to new ways of working over the past year, and those new ways are now the new normal. Gaining an efficient contingent workforce will be more successful with the help of qualified staffing firms who are trained to help companies right-size their organization to meet current needs, determine what they can actually invest in new labor, create a work environment that attracts top talent (one that is flexible, collaborative, inclusive, and safe), help released employees find new employment, and establish short- and long-term goals for health, safety, engagement suspensions, recall opportunities, and demand in the workplace. 

To learn more about the rise of the contingent workforce, check out our webcast from Kerry Marker, Wavestone US VP of Talent Solutions: Tech Talks Ep. 9: Contingent Labor in the New Normal.

Kerry Marker
Vice President, Talent

Kerry is responsible for talent acquisition and management at Wavestone US, where she blends her skills in recruiting, marketing, selling, and operational leadership to fulfill client demands. Prior to Wavestone, she served in marketing-management positions at leading technology companies such as Apptio, Qlik, Siemens Enterprise Communications (now Unify), and SAP.

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