How are jobs shifting in Covid era? Brightfield releases Q1 2021 Extended Workforce Intelligence report

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Brightfield, the contingent workforce analytics provider, has released a second Extended Workforce Intelligence Report. The first report was issued in December 2020. These reports have been able to track and provide insights into the demand for contingent workers and the levels of contingent workers on active assignments over the course of the Covid pandemic to date.

The Brightfield report findings are based on two large data sets, from which two indices are derived.

  • The first is the Contingent Workforce Demand Index, based on the number of requisitions released by organizations each month.
  • The second is the Active Contingent Workforce Index, which tracks the number of contingent workers actually working in assignments in a given month.

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The report segments and highlights some key job areas (e.g., healthcare, IT, light industrial, virtual sales and customer care, etc.). But Brightfield tracks other attributes such as specific roles and skills, rates, locations, length of assignments, etc. for multi-dimensional analysis and machine learning models.

Now here’s all the good news!

Contingent workforce demand

For all contingent workers, compared to the average level of demand over the July 2019 to December 2019 period, overall demand was robust over the period July 2020 to February 2021. The number of requisitions released over that eight-month period were on average higher than the benchmark period in 2019.

Demand for healthcare and science workers surged in November 2020 by about 150% over the average level of demand in July-December 2019. Demand for Light Industrial workers continued to be well above the average level of demand in 2019 (in October 2020, about 50% higher). Demand for IT and non-IT professional roles, which lagged slightly from July 2020 through October, began to rise starting in November.

Contingent workforce assignments

Compared to the average over the July 2019 to December 2019 period, Brightfield's report found that the number of contingent workers on active assignment bottomed out in May and June (but only down around 20%). By September 2020, the number of active assignments rose above the 2019 average and continued to increase. In February 2021, active assignments were nearly 25% higher than the 2019 benchmark average.

The number of active contingent worker assignments for nursing roles in January and February 2021 were over 100% higher than the 2019 average benchmark. As the report nicely puts it, “This means there are now over twice as many contingent nurses on the job than before the pandemic in late 2019.”

The number of active assignments for IT roles has been at or above the 2019 benchmark average level since February 2020 and the number of active assignments has grown every month thereafter, except for a dip in December 2020. In February 2021, the number of active assignments were 49% higher than the 2019 benchmark.

'They’re back!'

That could be a good summation of the findings of the Extended Workforce Intelligence Report, at least for many important contingent labor categories. But overall, things are looking pretty good on both the demand and supply sides of the contingent workforce.

Note that the high-level summary findings presented above are just a subset of the findings and more detailed data in the full Brightfield report.

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