The New World of Work is Here

The latest Ardent Partners State of Contingent Workforce Management study reveals that nearly two-thirds of all businesses are actively reshaping how work is completed across the enterprise, blending a mix of external workers and full-time employees to better leverage talent as a business differentiator. In fact, 63 percent of organizations are rethinking how work is addressed – ranking it as a top adaption strategy currently being deployed in the shifting business and talent engagement environment.

“Across the world, traditional notions of labor, work and talent are being altered. Internal enterprise functions are reshaping their talent management initiatives, understanding that the very concept of ‘contingent labor’ does not mean what it used to,” Ardent Partners Research Director Chris Dwyer explained. “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 spotlights the continued boom of the external workforce, which now accounts for almost 40 percent of all workers, up from 29 percent in 2011.


It also highlights several other key trends in the contingent workforce space including the keys to best-in-class programs, evolving workforce management strategies and more. Here are some insights: 

Best-in-class programs deploy a variety of strategies to outpace the general market.

Best-in-class programs excel in real-time visibility into spend- and supplier-led aspects of external workforce management (68 percent vs. 25 percent for all others), conduct regular reviews of worker and enterprise relationships (74 percent vs. 49 percent), leverage Vendor Management System (VMS) platforms (72 percent vs. 46 percent), and maintain comprehensive onboarding and offboarding processes (79 percent vs. 55 percent).

Real-time sourcing is the top strategy for talent engagement.

Overall, 71 percent of businesses are leveraging social, mobile and online talent networks to discover new talent. Other popular strategies include increased hiring of “senior candidates” for contract roles (67 percent), targeting millennials as a prime source of skill sets (65 percent) and formalizing a companywide “agile talent” acquisition strategy (61 percent).

Cost savings is no longer the top driver for executing a contingent workforce management program.

In the past, many organizations stated that costs were a driver for establishing their programs over talent engagement. Now, 51 percent say talent engagement is the lead driver. As the gig economy continues its rapid expansion, discovering new talent and managing compliance have taken on more important roles.

As the gig economy takes shape, businesses will generate value leveraging an evolving “non-employee workforce technology ecosystem.”

Core traditional platforms such as Vendor Management Systems (VMS) and Managed Service Provider (MSP) networks provide a “centralized source of truth” to control and manage all forms of non-employee talent. Overall, 72 percent of organizations believe such an ecosystem effectively addresses talent, spend, supplier and quality aspects of non-employee workforce management.