Businesses continue to see a marked growth in the contingent workforce (independent workers, such as freelancers, contractors, and consultants), and Emergent Research’s Small Business Labs is predicting that close to 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be contingent by 2020. Indications of this trend have come in from various sources, which demonstrate both a growth in overall numbers and also a shift in focus within companies regarding how to handle this significant change in the workforce.

According to the New Contingent Workforce Management Study from Aberdeen, nearly 26 percent of the average company’s workforce is considered contingent—a number that is up 2 percent from the previous year. In addition, Workforce has reported that U.S. staffing revenue rose 14 percent in 2011 to $117.2 million, due in large part to the increasing demand for temporary workers, and they project another expansion of 10 percent in 2012. Several industry segments in particular saw a rise of temporary workers: specifically industrial, information technology, locum tenens, engineering, and PEO sectors. Elance has made several predictions based on long-term industry trends: that 1 in 3 people will be hired online by 2020, that half of businesses will have online teams by 2020, and that global professional guilds will continue to emerge online.

Not surprisingly, companies are seeking strategies and solutions concerning how to deal with this rise in the contingent workforce. Staffing Industry Analysts has developed a new certification program for contingent workforce professionals aimed at enabling a standardization of best practices within the contingent workforce arena. This program (called the Certified Contingent Workforce Professional Program, or CCWP) is designed to enhance individual expertise, as well as program management skills and RFP success.


Dwyer, Christopher. “Some Early Findings from the New Contingent Workforce Management Study.” 4/9/12. (4/13/12.)

King, Steve, and Ockels, Carolyn. “News on the Growing Contingent Workforce.” Emergent Research (Small Business Labs). 4/13/12. (4/13/12.)

Staffing Industry Analysts. “Help Legitimize Contingent Workforce Management.” 4/11/12. (4/13/12.)

______. “Staffing Revenue Rising Faster Than Expected in 2012.” Workforce. 4/10/12. (4/13/12.)

Stillman, Jessica. “Elance Predicts the Future of Online Work.” Gigaom. 3/27/12. (4/13/12.)

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