Why a Contingent Workforce Makes Sense

Gina Deveney
Posted by in Human Resources

One of the biggest HR trends of 2015 is the use of contingent workforces to fill skill gaps and keep operations running smoothly. A contingent workforce is made up of contractors, freelancers and other temporary employees who have a specific set of skills. If you have trouble filling an open position, one of the workers can step in and do the work until you find a suitable candidate.

If it takes your company several months to fill a job opening, a contingent workforce makes a lot of sense, especially if the job is critical to company operations. Leaving a position open for six months or more is likely to impact productivity and hurt morale among employees who are forced to take on additional work. If you have a contingent workforce, you don't have to leave the position vacant while you search for the perfect candidate.

Using a contingent workforce can also save your company a lot of money. Because contingent workers are freelancers or independent contractors, they don't usually qualify for health insurance, retirement contributions or other employee benefits. They also pay self-employment taxes, so you don't have to worry about paying the employer portion of their Social Security and Medicare taxes. Using someone from your contingent workforce for a few months keeps costs down, which is especially important during the fourth-quarter budget crunch.

Having a contingent workforce is ideal if your company handles very specialized work or if you expect one or more employees to take off several months of work each year. Companies that perform highly specialized work often have trouble finding qualified candidates. If you have a contingent workforce, you have a group of trained workers ready to step in at a moment's notice. These workers can keep things running while you take time to find the right candidate. Some companies even use their contingent workforces to cover maternity leaves, paternity leaves and extended absences due to injuries and illnesses.

Finally, a contingent workforce is ideal if your company tends to have a busy season each year. Accounting is a great example. Many accounting firms are busiest between January and April because of tax season. If you only need help for a few months, it doesn't make sense to hire another full-time employee. If you have a contingent workforce, you can bring in the workers you need and let them go when things get back to normal.

The use of contingent workforces is one of the HR trends that's expected to become more popular in the coming years. Due to major changes in the workforce and the economy, using a contingent workforce is a great way to ensure business needs are met without having to spend a lot of money hiring full-time employees.

Photo courtesy of sheelamohan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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