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Flexible working and the need to manage contractors

07 February 2020

Our workforce situation today

Digitisation and demographic shifts have forced a new way of working. From an organisational perspective this is being driven by the need to respond to global changes and growing competition.

Today’s society consists of a multi-generational and diverse workforce, where workplace technologies enable full transparency and the 9-5 working tradition is becoming more and more obsolete. Workers can now reasonably demand how their work lives are structured. Contractor management combined with workplace learning is helping to narrow the The skills gap and thus pave the way for the 2030 workforce.

A great example of the ‘gig economy’ is Google. In 2019 contract workers exceeded direct employees for the first time since Google was established 20 years ago.

In PWC’s Demographic Shifts | Megatrends| People Business the main contributors leading to our new way of working are attributed to: ‘The 100 year life’, ‘individualism versus collectivism’ and these significant demographic shifts will shape our future economy.  As soon as “in the next 5 to 10 years, the workforce will look very different.”

It’s a competitive marketplace and high-level skills are in demand. In terms of job roles, the fastest rise can be seen in highly skilled ‘white collar’ roles.

The key benefit of these changes to organisations is largely financial. Contract workers are not entitled to superannuation, health and disability insurance or other benefits. Their worth is based on demand and organisations needing to fill a skills gap or temporary additional resources. This is a more efficient strategy where expenditure is kept lean and human  capital investment is made for that purpose and no more.

As the volume of contingent workers increases, the average term of full time workers is decreasing. The Department of Employment puts the national average job tenure in Australia at 3.4 years. According to LinkedIn data, the majority of contractors spend an average of 1 year or less at any given job and are continuously on the look out for their next opportunity.

LinkedIn asked contractors what they value most of all in a prospective job:

  • 59% excellent compensation and benefits
  • 57% good work/life balance
  • 41% challenging work
  • 37% strong career path
  • 36% culture that fits their personality

To understand more about the breakdown in demographic groups and the drivers of each that affect our working landscape read The Stats You Should Know to Understand the Growing Contractor Workforce and regionally, in APAC with 2018 APAC workforce insights.  Here, the extensive survey explores key insights affecting the changing workforce and how these insights will help employers respond to the changing workforce needs in attracting more relevant talent while retaining valuable employees.

Key benefits of flexible working for the employer

  • Significant cost reductions to the organisation in recruitment, fringe benefits and operational overheads.
  • Flexible employment opportunities attract more skilled applicants.
  • Independent professionals are consistently open to new opportunities and therefore are easier to resource for ad hoc projects.

Key benefits of flexible working for the worker

  • Flexibility and variety for the worker to operate on a project-basis.
  • PWC on the concept of work will change adds, “To accommodate the ‘100 year life’ both individuals and organisations will need to move beyond the traditional 3-stage life (education/work/retirement) to something more fluid and less predictable”.
  • Better work-life balance: practical working environment, autonomy, tools for transparency, flexible working hours – all should be the norm.
  • The ability to pick up new skills easily and develop wider industry expertise.
  • Hone soft skills, increase confidence and assertiveness ‘to get the job done’ without the need for line manager involvement.

Flexible working challenges

Contingent workers can be viewed as lacking in loyalty towards their employer and nonchalant regarding the organisation’s mission as they are merely passing through.

The contract worker lacks the security and fringe benefits that are extended to full time employees and this will mean they need to be actively on the lookout for their next opportunity to alleviate loss of income in between ‘gigs.’ Consistency with onboarding practices, codes of conduct and reporting also affect both parties.

All of this contributes to the need for employers to manage their contract workers, to keep them safe and accounted for.

Technology to manage your growing workforce

If you look after employees and contractors in your workplace the responsibility that comes with that weighs heavily. Technologies to ensure the health and safety requirements and compliance is met can easily be achieved through a contractor management system (CMS). Contractor management system software is a business first management tool, catering for all contingent workforce needs. Here’s what to look for when digitising contractor management.

Sitepass is a contractor management system that offers a single platform to manage the risk, compliance and safety of your workforce.  There is no user limit making it a cost effective option and solution, providing transparency of knowing who is working for you, where your people are, reducing administration costs and giving you back time to focus on more important tasks. Learn more about how Sitepass works and how it can help to streamline the management of your contingent workforce.

Ben Borin
Ben Borin

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