Gig economy gains new reach: Fieldglass study

gig economy

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The contingent workforce has grown from 29 per cent of all workers in 2011 to 38 per cent of all workers in 2016, as the gig economy gathers steam, according to a new report produced by Ardent Partners and co-sponsored by SAP Fieldglass.

“Across the world, the traditional notions of labour, work, and talent are being altered. Internal enterprise functions are reshaping their talent management initiatives, understanding that the very concept of ‘contingent labour’ does not mean what it used to,” wrote Christopher J. Dwyer, research director, Ardent Partners in the report.

“If 2015 was the tipping point for the contingent workforce’s growth and evolution, then 2016 is the year that the ‘gig economy’ propels it to new heights.”

The report, ‘The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2016-2017: Adapting to a New World of Work’, found that 63 per cent of organisations are rethinking how work is addressed – making it the top adaption strategy in the business and talent engagement environment.

By incorporating freelancers, independent contractors and gig workers alongside the traditional workforce, organisations are allowing for projects to be handled by a broader and more diverse collection of talent.

“As workers seek more flexibility and employers embrace agility in all facets of their organisations, contingent work will exert more and more influence over companies’ success,” said Arun Srinivasan, senior vice president of strategy and customer operations, SAP Fieldglass. “And as we head toward a fundamental shift in the composition of the workforce, companies will need to continue to adopt new strategies and integrate new technologies to engage external talent and turn it into a true business differentiator.”

The research shows that there are changes in the motivations behind using a contingent workforce. Several years ago, costs (currently cited as a key driver by 32 per cent of respondents) would have placed ahead of talent engagement (51 per cent). Even higher priority is discovering new talent and managing compliance (both 62 per cent).

Companies that are considered best-in-class in their use of contingent workers use a variety of management strategies to make these types of engagement more effective. For instance, they use real-time visibility into spend- and supplier-led aspects of contingent workforce management (68 per cent vs 25 per cent for all others), they conduct regular reviews of worker and enterprise relationships (74 per cent vs 49 per cent) leverage vendor management system (VMS) platforms (72 per cent vs 46 per cent), and maintain comprehensive onboarding and offboarding processes (79 per cent vs 55 per cent).

To download the report, click here.

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