Contingent Workforce Planning NRL

The rise of the Contingent workforce, are you prepared?

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The rise of the Contingent workforce, are you prepared?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author: Emma Lowden

​The global pandemic is having wide-reaching changes to our lives and workplaces. NRL’s Sunderland Branch Manager Emma Lowden takes a look at what this means for the UK workforce.

The rise of the contingent workforce was widely predicted ahead of the events this year. What this year has forced is an acceleration of this trend, with businesses looking to make more strategic decisions around the engagement of their contingent workers in the future.

A report published in early 2020 estimated that 60 % of individuals born between 1990 and 2000 do not see themselves staying in the same role for more than two years (Deloitte, 2019)  often seeing the world of work as transactional or interchangeable, as gained experience becomes the priority over tenure. The move from a directly employed worker to a contingent worker however is not always voluntary, with the recent rise in businesses looking to ‘right size’ their operations. The time and cost this incurs, and the subsequent increase in redundancies, all collectively indicates an increased reliance on a contingent workforce in the future to provide the flexibility needed to continue to deliver operations.

Your supply chain needs to be agile and flexible

All of our businesses have changed, and they won’t necessarily operate in the way they did prior to March this year. There is an increase in expectations on businesses to not only maintain an agile workforce, but with an increased focus on the need to create a work/life balance for their workers. For many employers, covid-19 has shown them that the key to a productive workforce is to allow them to deliver their work at the end of each day, trusting them to effectively manage their work/life balance.

Trust in the expert

​If you are an engineering contractor it is normal practice to sub-contract work packages to specialist contractors. Why not entrust the management, delivery and compliance of your contingent workforce to experts in this field? Engaging with a trusted supplier allows your business to focus on what you do best – delivering projects within budget and on time.

Have you considered:

​What % of your workforce is currently contingent, and what that might need to look like if business levels increase?

  • Will the skills you require be the same or different to pre- March?

  • Do you have confidence that you will be able to source the required skills within the required timescales?

  • Do you know the costs associated with the engagement of contingent workers on current projects, and the projects you are tendering for?

  • Do you have the capacity to assess your workforce and evaluate how the impending IR35 legislation may impact this?

  • Do you know what you need to do to continue to attract and retain contingent workers, post IR35 implementation?

  • Have your EU national workers registered with the settlement scheme ahead of 2021?

  • Do you have full visibility of the compliance of your contingent workforce?

Times are changing – so should your supply chain

A recruitment business in its traditional, transactional form may not meet the needs of your business in the future – and indeed may have a lessening role in general in the market going forward.

Skills shortages, increased legislation and trends towards a more contingent workforce supports the need to align yourself proactively with a Workforce Solutions Provider. By repositioning them onto a more strategic level you will enable your business to create a competitive advantage as we move into 2021.

If your business could utilise NRL’s recruitment expertise, contact me on 07788 100 774 or

​Connect with me on LinkedIn