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Contingent Labor: The Benefits and Utility

In every sense, the face of the modern American workforce is changing. For one, that face looks increasingly less, well … American. And that has been a good thing for the growth of innovation and commerce: the evolution of professional labor into a global marketplace has been a boon for a wide variety of industries. That evolution includes an increase in the reliance on contingent labor.

Now more than ever, that workforce is also, quite literally, changing. Whereas American industry once conjured up images of a Ford factory line bustling with lifers fiercely loyal to the company, the modern embodiment of professional labor looks more like an open-concept office space with a mixture of staffers, consultants, freelancers and temporary employees.

This, too, should be considered an exciting development. As employer needs have grown more specialized and provisional in recent years, contingent labor has risen to meet demand. At the same time, the emergence of key technologies has led to the proliferation of digital talent marketplaces that are capable of connecting companies with the right employees – and vice versa.

If you aren’t currently using contractors or gig workers, it’s worth considering the potential benefits of contingent labor to your business.

Staff augmentation. Every company is seeking the optimal full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce to meet their production requirements. But those needs can ebb and flow (especially for seasonal businesses), complicating staffing. Contingent labor helps companies hire quickly, seamlessly maintain efficiency and rapidly downsize when the additional labor is no longer needed.

Acquire specialized skill sets. Many companies have business-critical needs that nevertheless fail to justify the creation of a full-time or staff role. (Think of a small business that relies on an on-call IT specialist or web developer who works on a per-project basis.) The contingent labor pool allows as-needed access to those specialized competencies.

Business expansion. Contract workers offer the option of growing a capability or introducing a new expertise to a company without committing to a full-time staffer, or perhaps a team of them. It’s possible to pursue new business opportunities (contracts, engagements, projects, etc.) without having to assume the risk of staffing up before you even know whether or not you’ve won the business. Contingent labor helps make it happen.

Try before you buy. The old consumer adage now can be applied to the labor market: One advantage of embracing contingent labor is the ability to ensure technical expertise and a cultural fit while minimizing the cost when a mismatch occurs. Transitioning a contractor to a staff employee once they prove they check all the boxes is a simpler and lower-risk proposition than hiring a full-timer off the street.

Incorporating contingent labor in a business can present its share of challenges, but talent-cloud services help address many of those concerns. For instance, many companies with temporary needs don’t have the time or resources to train new contract workers or wait for them to become familiar with the business or their role. But PeopleCaddie’s deep talent pool and interconnected platform ensure that contractors are plugged quickly and seamlessly into new positions.

Contingent labor won’t solve every business problem. But this growing workforce provides companies with the flexibility and peace of mind to meet production while managing FTE – a valuable resource for meeting today’s unique, and often unpredictable, business demands.

Have a question as to how your company can benefit? Reach out to us!

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