Why contingent talent is key to business growth

By Doug Edmonds, Director, Guidant Global

With contract workers now making up 30% of the Australian workforce, and predictions that this figure will rise, it’s important to tap into this trend now and learn how to best harness this valuable talent pool for maximum business growth. As companies transform their thinking to answer the “How does work get done?” question, one key statement is clear: we live in a new world of work. One of the significant elements fuelling this new era, is business’ increasing reliance on the contingent talent pool. 

The changing mindset

With millennials and gen Z replacing baby boomers in the workplace, and rapid technological advancements taking place every day, organisations of all sizes have shifted their mindset on how they approach projects and view the workplace. The 9-5, office-based environment is no longer essential, and to the younger generations, not that desirable. Thanks to cloud-based technologies, team members can collaborate from anywhere in the world and manage their timetable to suit their lifestyles. This, as well as other factors, has contributed to the growth of the gig-economy - where professionals opt for temporary projects that benefit them and provide a better work-life balance. 

The evolution of work

According to Ardent Partners’ ‘State of The Contingent Workforce Management’ report, the desire for business agility rules the way organisations address talent, technology, and work. To achieve this, it makes sense to have an ‘agile workforce’, and contingent talent are perfectly placed to help businesses meet this goal. Contract workers allow modern enterprises to leverage top-tier skills when and where they need them. Their flexible nature and constant mobility typically mean that they have a solid understanding of market changes and needs and know how to meet them.

What makes contract workers so valuable?

Contractors’ ability and freedom to choose projects which they work on, has resulted in them taking charge of how fast they develop their career. Professionals no longer have to wait for promotions to climb the ladder, and can decide to take on more challenging roles, better-paying offers, or flexible work as and when they wish. This also allows contingent workers to take on jobs that will strengthen certain skills or expose themselves to new capabilities. The experience gained from working on a variety of projects with multiple organisations often means contractors have a wealth of knowledge, a broad perspective and the ability to challenge expectations.

Skills shortages 

A company can’t achieve business growth unless it has the talent that it needs. Unfortunately, across many industries, there is a severe shortage of skills, which often hinders the ability to expand or grow. In fact, the research group Conference Board’s recent global study showed that CEOs said that attracting and retaining talent was their top internal concern. One way to effectively solve this problem, is to incorporate and leverage the use of contingent workers. Many high-value employees are already in secure jobs and not seeking any new roles, however top contractors are usually on the look-out for the next opportunity. 

A rise in demand 

With the non-employee workforce going up in number by the day, it’s essential to strategically plan how to place these professionals into your talent pipeline, as it is likely that your competitors are doing the same. The growing workforce mirrors the rising demand, and many managers are aware of the value that they bring and are seeking them out over permanent talent. For example, within the tech sector, 84% of recruitment bosses have seen an increase in demand for temporary or contract roles, and this is echoed in plenty of other industries too. It is estimated that up to 54% of Google’s workforce is non-employee.   

How can contractors benefit your business?

The path to the future is paved with an agile and mobile workforce that can be adeptly aligned to the evolving needs of the business. Contractors’ flexible approach not only benefits them, but helps your business too by bringing fresh perspectives, new ideas and up-to-date skills. As mentioned previously, working with contingent talent enables you to gain access to the high-value professionals who in the past would have typically been in full-time positions and in addition to this, a non-permanent workforce can also improve your bottom line. Contractors can be more cost-effective for businesses as you are only paying for specialist skills when they are required.

As the world of work continues to evolve and reshape, it is vital to adapt your business and workforce planning. There is now a greater emphasis on work-life balance, and many top professionals know that they can have flexibility and meaningful roles with many companies. It is often these individuals that we need to lead projects and take our businesses to the next step, so it is crucial to know how to source, attract and retain them.


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