The Independent Workforce “Big Picture” – Services Procurement Professionals Take Note

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Independent contractor engagement solution provider MBO Partners recently released initial findings and an infographic from its annual research, which add up to a “big picture” that services procurement and contingent workforce professionals cannot ignore.

There is no doubt that business use of contingent workforce has been rising in past years (clearly a long-term trend reflected in agency temp and SOW “spend under management” data). But the MBO data points out that there is a growing population of highly skilled, high-cost workers who prefer to engage businesses directly, not through staffing suppliers, but as independent non-employees. And these workers represent talent that is often difficult to find and is crucial to strategic initiatives and overall business competitiveness and performance.

What is the implication of these findings? Services procurement and contingent workforce managers must begin establishing new approaches and channels to engage such independent workers though efficient processes that ensure both managed spend and controlled compliance risk.

Spend Matters PRO recently covered MBO, as we consider the provider to be an innovator among intermediaries that manage/enable independent worker engagement. Spend Matters is also holding a webinar later this month on the evolution of innovative procurement approaches to managing independent worker direct sourcing and engagement and how MBO can function in that context.

But back to the new research from MBO. We have pointed out some of the key findings from a recent press release we think are worth noting:

  • “The full-time independent workforce, with close to 18 million workers earning a significant portion or all of their income outside of traditional employment, is a permanent and rapidly growing portion of the American economy.”
  • “In addition to these full-time independents, there are 12.5 million “side-giggers,” who take on part-time independent work.”
  • “The independent workforce, a small portion of the overall labor pool before the [great] recession, has seen unprecedented growth, outstripping traditional employment gains and jobs report numbers.”
  • “Overall, the independent workforce has recorded 12% growth, compared to 7% growth in overall employment over the last 5 years. This trend is forecasted to continue, as 4 in 5 independents plan on staying independent, and 1 in 7 non-independents plan to join that group in the coming years.”
  • “High-earning independent workers now represent 10% of all independents and are the fastest-growing segment. The number of independents earning $100,000 or more per year has grown 45% over the last five years, totaling 2.9 million people.”

Register for the upcoming webinar, "Direct Source and Engage Highly Skilled Independent Talent with Controlled Cost and Risk," here.

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