A tight labor market and shifting attitudes are changing the temporary workforce arena, with perks once reserved for permanent workers now being made available to temporary employees.
“Multiple things are changing in the landscape on how companies procure,” said Vish Baliga, Chief Technology Officer for SAP Fieldglass, a temporary workforce marketplace provider. Baliga estimated that invoices at SAP Fieldglass grew 15-20% in 2021 over 2020, the first year of the pandemic in most Western countries.
The explosion in demand is likely to continue. Unemployment hovers around four percent. The U.S. created 6.67 million jobs in 2021 and labor force participation was the highest since the pandemic hit, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employment expansion showed no signs of abating in January, when 467,000 jobs were added, and the traditional seasonal demand SAP Fieldglass usually sees for temporary workers has remained at elevated levels, Baliga said.
SAP Fieldglass is looking for other ways to increase the external labor pool. In the U.S., one hurdle for temporary work is that it rarely offers health insurance. SAP Fieldglass is exploring options and partnerships to meet needs such as this for the expanding pool of temporary workers. It also is working to a curate a talent pool for SAP customers. This will allow individual workers to shine and make it easier for employers to find the individual they want.
“In the future, both companies and customers will be able to recommend somebody they have previously worked with, which will benefit other customers looking to hire,” Baliga said.
The number of freelancing groups are growing, challenging the traditional employment agency vendors and their fees and cuts. Freelancer management systems (FMS) are now ubiquitous and can connect to the SAP Fieldglass solution. This proliferation has prompted many FMS to specialize by industry, region or worker pool qualifications.
“When these workers can register into a pool that we curate and maintain, customers will be able to easily search and engage with workers matching the qualifications they seek,” Baliga said.
With this growing network of freelancers and the ability to zero in on specific skills and qualifications, external workers are also becoming part of corporate planning and strategy.
“It was probably on the back burner with many CEOs and CIOs,” Baliga said. “The agility to find new talent vendors and onboard them in rapid order requires some process tweaking. Opening a rigid procurement process is something that needed to be done.”