The Rise of Contingent Workers in a Post-Pandemic World
Contingent workers are independent contractors, freelancers, and consultants that a company can hire on a per-project basis. Contingent workers are hired to undertake specific tasks for a specific period of time in an organisation without receiving the same rights and employment benefits as full time employees. The key feature of contingency work is that it non-permanent.
Since the current Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in contingent work due to a lack of certainty in the labour market and a need for flexible working. Many organizations have had to adapt to the changing labour market post-Covid-19, with many companies moving to remote working for the foreseeable future.
Contingent Workers in Ireland
In Ireland, the two main types of contingent employment are employees on temporary contracts and freelancers. Between 1998 and 2005, 8 to 9% of the Irish workforce were contingent workers. This rose to over 10 % after the recession but fell back to its pre-recession figure in 2016. Contingent employment in Ireland is relatively lower than other countries in the EU.
Contingent work is often seen in a negative light due to the lack of job security. However, research has found that contingent workers in Ireland value the opportunity to gain experience and focus less on job security and pay. They do not suffer lower levels of job satisfaction compared to their counterparts in permanent positions.
Benefits for Employers
The main reason organisations use contingent workers is to improve profitability and maximise efficiency. There are a number of benefits to hiring contingent workers:
Flexibility: they can be hired during busier periods and help the organisation to adapt to changes in the corporate world and within your organisation. This will be important for organisations adapting to a post Covid-19 world.
Bridging the skills gap: contingent workers are highly skilled in specific areas. They allow an organisation to fill a skills gap for a specific project. This saves costs in retraining current employees.
Quick and easy hiring process: there is no need for the same level of onboarding as with permanent employees. This will reduce hiring costs for organisations.
Leads to more creativity: hiring contingent workers brings a different perspective into an organisation. A more diverse workforce leads to more creativity and innovation which will benefit the whole organisation.
Reduce costs: contingent workers are not salaried and do not receive the same employment benefits as their permanent counterparts. This reduces the overall costs for the employer.
Learning opportunity: contingent workers are often highly skilled and can provide a learning opportunity for current employees.
Organisations have to reacted to the changing labour market post Covid-19. With many companies moving to remote working for the foreseeable future
Benefits for Workers
Contingent work is often seen in a negative light due to the lack of job security. However, research has found that contingent workers in Ireland value the opportunity to gain experience and focus less on job security and pay. They do not suffer lower levels of job satisfaction compared to their counterparts in permanent positions. Other benefits for workers include:
Flexibility: Contingent workers have the flexibility to work on projects that match their skills and interests, allowing for a more diverse and fulfilling work experience.
Autonomy: Contingent workers have more control over their work, allowing for greater autonomy and work-life balance.
Networking opportunities: Contingent workers have the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations and individuals, leading to valuable networking opportunities.
In conclusion, contingent workers play a vital role in meeting the needs of organizations in today's ever-changing labour market. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to the workforce, and contingent workers offer a flexible and cost-effective solution for businesses to adapt and survive in the post-pandemic era. While contingent work may have previously been viewed negatively, it is now becoming a popular option for both employers and workers, providing benefits such as flexibility, bridging the skills gap, quick and easy hiring, increased creativity, reduced costs, and learning opportunities. As we move forward, it is likely that we will continue to see the rise of contingent work as a valuable option for businesses to meet their staffing needs.