Sourcing

Contingent Workers—Are They Right for Your Organization?

Have you heard the term “contingent worker”? What does that mean? Who does it include? Business consultant Bridget Miller has some answers for us regarding this special type of new hire.

In practical terms, a “contingent worker” would be any worker who is hired just for a specific job or task (a “contingent” piece of work) or time period, and who is paid only for this work and does not receive any benefits and is not considered to be a regular employee of the organization. Contingent work is any work that is handled in this manner, including contractual work, short projects, etc. Typically, contingent workers are either part-time, temporary, or both.

Contingent workers include groups like freelancers, consultants, temps, and other independent contractors.


Want to learn the best way to manage your contingent workers? Join us at the 2015 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS) on November 4-6 for the panel NetFlix, Hulu, Apple TV and Employees? How to Legally and Strategically Manage On Demand Contingent Workers. Learn more.


Contingent work has been a part of the labor force for decades, but it’s becoming much more commonplace now. The recent recession prompted many individuals who were previously full-time employees to explore the idea of becoming independent contractors instead of relying solely on one employer for their income. This situation has continued in the years since the recession, and the contingent workforce continues to grow.

Why Use Contingent Workers?

There are many benefits for employers to use contingent workers as part of their workforce. Here are a few:

  • It improves agility and enhances the ability to respond quickly to fluctuating demand. Having a portion of the workforce that is effectively available at a moment’s notice means having the ability to quickly meet changes in demand. Temporary workers are often used in seasonal industries, for example.
  • Labor costs and administration can be simplified. This is because contingent workers are usually paid on either a contractual or similar basis. This means they’re not typically subject to many employee benefits. It also generally means there is no need for the employer to handle tax withholdings, requiring less administration for the employer.

Contingent workers are a tricky topics. Join us on November 4-6 for the AEIS 2015 panel NetFlix, Hulu, Apple TV and Employees? How to Legally and Strategically Manage On Demand Contingent Workers to learn the latest tips and tricks. Learn more.


  • It can allow employers to access talent they do not have in-house. For example, if an organization needs a technical project completed but does not have enough of this type of work to require a full-time employee, a freelancer with technical expertise could be contracted to complete the project.
  • Time-to-productivity can be decreased. When hiring contingent workers, employers typically look for someone who already has all of the skills to do the task—no time is spent on training, meaning that the project can go forward quickly.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we will take a look at the flip side of the coin—the risks associated with contingent workers. Plus an introduction to BLR’s 2015 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS)!