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In this guest post, Procurement Leaders invites Arun Srinivasan from Fieldglass (now part of SAP), to highlight the demographic changes affecting contingent workforce spend and suggest where procurement's priorities should lie. 


A fundamental shift is underway in today's employment landscape. The majority of a company's workforce no longer consists of long-tenured, full-time employees, whose first job was often the same one as when they eventually retired.


Today a 'new normal' exists where individuals frequently move between jobs, companies, geographies and even industries.


Just who are these workers? They have a variety of aliases, including contingent, temporary, flexible and external labour. They also include independent contractors or other project-based workers. No matter what you call them, there's nothing temporary about the contingent workforce. This segment is growing rapidly and research tells us that external labour and services now comprise as much of 50% of the workforce at some organisations.


Our own customers serve as proof as well. One pharmaceutical company publicly lists 37,000 full-time employees, but it also has an additional 31,000 contingent workers active on the Fieldglass vendor management system. In another example, a technology firm cites 50,000 full-time employees, with an additional 48,000 contingent workers in Fieldglass.


While the figures above might suggest otherwise, the workforce is actually not divided into two distinct groups – those that are full-time employees and those that are not.


The lines between full-time and contingent work are only relevant from a regulatory and administrative standpoint, offering no relevance to the type of skills they offer or how they are recruited. Why does this matter? Talent is arriving at an employer's doorstep in new ways and without identifying themselves as a full-time or contingent worker. Yet on the receiving end, organisations set up doors (and technology solutions) to identify, process and manage these workers as one or the other.


The opportunity to create real value from your workforce begins with visibility into your entire workforce and ends with integrated processes to ultimately complete work more efficiently. 


Arun Srinivasan is VP of product marketing and strategy, Fieldglass, now part of SAP


This is an extract from an article that appears in Procurement Leaders Magazine Issue 52. To find out more, click here

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