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According to a survey that Manpower Inc. released on November 3, more than 60 percent of employers worldwide do not view contingent labor as critical to business success. Manpower foresees a new executive mind-set in the post-recovery world, with forward-looking companies turning to a dynamic mix of permanent and contingent workers, increasing their flexibility for a competitive advantage.
"What began as a financial and economic crisis has evolved into a workforce crisis – and employers are struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace and the growing mismatch between needed skill sets and available talent," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "As the world emerges from the recession, employers' natural instinct will be to exercise caution around hiring permanent talent, reaching first for contingent workers to fill the gap – and they should. But, the winners in the post-recovery world will be the companies that leverage contingent workers as 'workforce accelerators,' having mastered the art of managing a dynamic mix of permanent and contingent workers to optimize their performance, increasing their speed of execution, building talent capability, keeping fixed costs low and doing more with less."
"As employers and employees alike move toward more flexible ways of working to suit lifestyle changes, it is time to start leveraging the contingent workforce strategically to gain access to people with scarce, specialized skill sets: outsource non-core business functions; try out candidates before hiring for full-time positions; and provide longer-term workforce flexibility," Joerres added.
These recommendations and findings come from "Rules of Engagement: Harnessing the Potential of The Contingent Workforce," a white paper and survey released by Manpower Inc. on November 3. The paper calls for companies to adopt a more strategic and flexible approach to workforce management in order to reach their goals and better manage risk in the post-recovery world. Key to this approach will be a growing reliance on the four types of non-permanent – or contingent – workers: temporary employees, outsourced workers, contractors and consultants.
Manpower predicts that in order to take full advantage of opportunities in the recovering economy, employers will need to move away from viewing contingent workers as a practical resource to cover maternity leave, meet seasonal demand or keep permanent payrolls in check, and towards viewing them as a valuable strategic asset. According to Manpower's research, the most common reason worldwide for employing contingent workers is to meet peak seasonal demand – and nearly one in five employers do this. Only 14 percent of employers across the globe now turn to contingent employees to derive greater strategic value.
"As we begin the slow ascent towards recovery, it is more important than ever for employers to link their workforce strategy to their wider business objectives. Those that do so will be better equipped to attract and retain the talent they need for sustainable growth through the economic recovery and beyond," Joerres said.
"Companies must also fully engage with their contingent workforce, making sure they are committed to the company, its business goals and overall strategy. This involves understanding their individual needs and motivations, integrating contingent workers successfully into the company's operations, and ensuring ongoing engagement through training and career development programs," Joerres said.
The upturn is likely to present employers with a whole new set of challenges, which will require a considered, strategic response in terms of talent management. This response will need to be very closely aligned to the wider business strategy, and flexibility will be vital in an unpredictable, growing marketplace.
Visit http://www.manpower.com/ResearchCenter for a copy of the Manpower World of Work Insight paper.
Manpower Inc. surveyed more than 41,000 employers across 35 countries and territories to learn more about the perceived role of contingent workers in workforce strategy among organizations today. To obtain the full Manpower Survey results, click on the following link: http://www.manpower.com/ResearchCenter