Rapidly growing demographics suggest contingent labor will play a significant role in future workforce dynamics. Talent leaders will need to integrate these workers into HR strategies.
Pitney Bowes Management Services (PBMS), the outsource services division of Pitney Bowes, provides communications, document and mail management services for companies around the world.
For public relations professional Lori Marble, there is no such thing as a typical day. She might be hosting a press conference, photographing an event or writing a new product release.
She always rises at 4:30 a.m., but she’s not catching a train for a routine commute. Marble is already at the office for her freelance service, Marble Public Relations. She went independent after working for a community college for 20 years and, most recently, with a state agency for six years.
“The state agency began downsizing in 2011, and my public relations managerial job was set for relocation to a larger city,” Marble said. “I was asked to move with the job, but I declined; my husband’s position and our children’s involvement in school made that an unattractive option. I was asked by my supervisor what I wanted to do. Ironically, she was asking what position I hoped to have within the agency, but what I heard was a much larger question of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”
Marble is one of a growing number of professionals who have opted for the independent route and the flexibility of working remotely. According to a May report from the Aberdeen Group titled “Contingent Workforce Management: The Next-Generation Guidebook to Managing the Modern Contingent Workforce Umbrella,” almost 26 percent of the average organization’s total workforce is considered contingent or contract based.
Aberdeen published another report in April 2011 titled, “Contingent Labor Management: The Evolution of the Contemporary Contingent Workforce,” stating that the contemporary contingent workforce has undergone an evolution since 2006, one that forced companies to implement robust strategies to drive value and gain visibility beyond classic temporary labor, such as statement of work-based projects and services and independent contractors.
The trend continues to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the contingent workforce will be among the fastest-growing workforce segments, seeing an increase of 23 percent from 2010 to 2020 — that’s an additional 631,300 jobs.
Talent leaders must figure out how to best utilize this valuable workforce, integrating them into overall HR strategies rather than treating them as an extension of full-time staff. The contingent workforce also will increase as a result of a shift to a more project-friendly corporate culture.