Contingent Workforce Management in 2022 Guide

Discover how next-gen talent platforms are stepping up to help organizations manage a flexible workforce in the gig economy.

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Updated January 2022

In this guide

This is an abridged version of our guide.  For the full guide, please download the PDF version.

Section 1 - Demand Drivers for a New Approach to Workforce Management

Here, we describe the market conditions impacting on workforce management.

Talent shortages

The gig economy

New ways to connect to talent markets

The rise of artificial intelligence and the robot workforce

Rapidly changing markets and business models

What it means for the Workforce Management discipline

Section 2 - Make-up of the Modern Workforce

In this section, we explore the make-up of the modern workforce.

Full-time employment

Zero-hour’s employment

Indirect staffing of contingent workers

Gig working

Knowledge and crowd-sourcing markets

Section 3 - Software innovations

Here, we examine how enterprise software is adapting to satisfy the changing workforce management operations demands of organizations.

Next-generation private-cloud platforms

Gig working apps and job portals

Artificial intelligence (AI)-led innovation

Direct sourcing solutions

Statement-of-Work (SOW) solutions

The move from software applications to digital platforms and ecosystems

New to VMS solutions?

If you would like a general overview of the “key features of vendor management systems,” check out this article.

Section 1 – Demand Drivers

In this section we describe the market conditions impacting on contingent workforce management.

Talent Shortages

Demand for a new form of workforce management enterprise platform comes as the result of a series of changes to the talent industry and the technology build to serve it.

The Gig Economy

This on-demand workforce model benefits both worker and organizations looking for rapid access to talent. Organizations are increasigly adopting in-direct channels and SOW contracts to harvest this resource as an alternative to hiring permanent employees.

New ways to connect to talent markets

The third major influencer on changes to the Workforce Management Software market comes from innovations in the way organizations are tapping into the talent market.

The rise of AI workforce

The last few years have seen artificial intelligence and software robots come of age. Market watchers like McKinsey report that many of the jobs we assume we need humans to perform are now automated by known technology.

Rapidly changing markets and business models

Business valuation used to be based largely on factors such as profits, the size of the order book, and fixed assets. These factors are now playing second fiddle to the size of addressable customer bases, the richness of data held on customers, the number of website visitors, and the promise of future opportunities.

New roles in the digital economy

The rapid onslaught of digital technologies  is creating a thirst for new kinds of knowledge… and new job roles.

Section 2 – The Modern Workforce

In this section we describe the various mechanisms businesses are adopting to source their talent. Workforce Management Systems adopting a Total Talent Management ethos are expected to support all these routes to getting work done.

Several of these ‘recruiting channels’ are new, driven by opportunities to source tasks, projects and jobs in different ways, thanks to the gig economy.

Full-time employment

While the trend is towards contracting out work rather that employing people to do it on full-time contracts, it’s still true today that most of the workforce in most countries is employed on full-time contracts. With compliance demands growing by the year, the risks of employing full-time employees are upscaling over time.


Knowledge and crowd sourcing markets

Another way of getting some knowledge-centric work done (such as performing research and gaining answers to technical questions etc.) is to contract work through knowledge and crowd-sourcing markets; effectively paying for answers, not for the people to do the work of finding the answer.

Zero-hour’s employment

A twist on the full-time contract that brings with it some level of improved agility for employers is the Zero Hours contract. Essentially, this is an employment contract that secures the commitment of an individual to work for an organization without stipulating how many hours they will work.

Indirect staffing of contingent workers

One of the fastest growing areas of the talent management market comes in the form of indirect staffing procurements. Harnessing a group of staffing vendors, organizations will source contingent workers through procurement frameworks, fulfilling requirements one job description and purchase order at a time.

Gig working

Most Fortune 500 firms are now embracing gig workers for non-core roles such as marketing, Human Resources, published relations, and procurement. Even in technical, professional, and scientific roles, the paucity of gig workers means that firms are having to trash plans for the recruitment of full-time employees and instead are offering these roles out on contract.

Section 3 – Software Innovations

Modern Workforce Management Software aspires to deliver unifying Total Talent Management (TTM) solutions for businesses to equip them with the means to use a blend of ‘sourcing channels’ to fulfil their on-demand talent sourcing and management needs.

Next-gen private-cloud platforms

A second generation of VMS solution is now coming of age based on private cloud technology that works very much like glue-ware to blend between the incumbent IT systems and preferred best-of-breed technologies employer companies want to use, to then fill between them with deeply integrated workflows and automations. These highly modular and agile Vendor Management Systems, characterized by SimplifyVMS, offer businesses an effective way of harnessing an indirect talent sourcing approach.

Statement of Work (SOW) solutions

A Statement of Work (SOW) are contracts between a company and a staffing provider or individual that agree to pay a contract worker for their efforts based on the achievement of pre-determined project outcomes. Typically, these outcomes are formed around project milestones.

SOW allows businesses to offer tasks and projects as small procurements that individuals or agencies can deliver.

Gig working apps and job portals

The rise of the gig economy gives rise to the need for new technology ecosystems. Gig Economy Apps are important because they facilitate gig working, something that used to be something people only did for small businesses, but not anymore.

Direct sourcing solutions

Use of Direct Sourcing is on the rise.  It’s about harvesting ‘within reach’ talent pools to offer work out and get jobs done.  Perhaps, the biggest community of candidates incorporated into direct sourcing programs comes from historical internal recruiting activities and recent social media campaigns.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)-led innovation

Artificial Intelligence – the application of computer science to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence – has a significant role to play in workforce management to automate workflows and help in decisions that can help to reduce workloads.

The move to digital platforms and ecosystems

The solutions being developed to fulfil enterprise workforce management needs are formed on platform principles; to create online communities of job seekers and work opportunities, supported by a host of enabling services for all parties concerned; the people looking for work, those offering work, the activity of settling payments—and the provisioning of tools for those needing to manage its production, together with the people delivering it—and third party suppliers engaged in the supply chain.

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