In today’s uncertain economic conditions and tight labor market, companies are increasingly relying upon a broad mix of traditional and contingent workers to get vital work done. In this infographic, we take a look at the factors driving the growth of the independent workforce, as well as strategies for how organizations can strike the right balance for their own unique employment situations.
The Growth of the Independent Workforce
The new workforce is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Just when you think you have a handle on staffing industry trends, things change again. Many talent, experienced professionals are choosing to take control of their careers by joining the independent workforce. According to the Jobenomics 2016 U.S. Contingent Workforce Report, contingent workers in the United States now number 60 million, and comprise 40 percent of the private-sector workforce. This figure is expected to grow to 50 percent by the year 2030.1
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93 percent of all job growth in the last five years is due to the addition of independent contractor and temporary roles.2 Businesses will continue to add to this growth by increasing their contingent workforces (independent contractors, freelancers, temps, SOW workers) by another 70 percent.3
Workers themselves are also seeking more independence. Eight-two percent of Millennials have stated that they are optimistic about freelancing as a career path.4 And 50 percent of freelancers say that they wouldn’t stop freelancing for any amount of money.5
The Direct-Sourcing Strategy
In the past, independent workers were traditionally sourced from staffing suppliers. While some of these workers are still sourced from recruiters, more and more organizations are deploying a direct-sourcing strategy, whereby they build their own “bench” of qualified flexible workers.
Another strategy that has gained enormous traction is total talent management, which involves taking a holistic view of your entire workforce. Total talent management ensures that the right workers are available, in the right place, at the right time, and engaged in the right way.
A Balancing Act
Striking a balance between traditional employees and flexible workers can provide your company with ultimate flexibility and cost savings. As you can see in the illustration above, the ideal, balanced approach involves staffing your organization at a level above the minimum, but below the maximum needed for traditional workers.
Of course, finding the optimal mix of of traditional versus flexible workers for your organization can be tricky. The answer will be very different for every business, and will depend on a number of factors, including business trends, macro-economic conditions, demographics, and seasonality.
Finding Your Own Flexible Workers
Direct-sourcing your own flexible workers is easier than you think! These workers can be found in a number of places, and they can include:
- Prior and current contractors
- Retirees with deep institutional knowledge
- Silver medalists — candidates for prior roles in your company that did not receive a job offer
- Boomerangers — Baby Boomers that have recently left the workforce, but may still be interested in engaging in part-time work on their own terms
Make the Independent Workforce Your Secret Weapon
Would you like to learn more about strategically engaging with flexible workers? Download our in-depth guide, The Flexible Workforce: A shock absorber for turbulent economic conditions.
1 Jobenomics (2016). Jobenomics U.S. Contingent Workforce Report
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016).
3 Staffing Industry Analysts (2016).
4 RFS, a group of Stanford University and Y Combinator alumni
5 Freelancers Union and Upwork (2015). Freelancing in America