Modern Australian

The Contingent Workforce: 101 Guide

  • Written by Chloe Taylor

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the words “contingent staffing” have been trending hard. Also known as on-demand workers, contingent workers are there to fulfil a company’s current needs for staff. When hiring these people, you can easily match their skills to issues that require professional attention and get the job done quickly, professionally and cost-effectively. While you might not be sure what contingent workers are, you sure came in contact with them since many organizations and industries depend on them. Think catering companies hiring more staff for large events or marketing agencies hiring more staff to create big campaigns.

Hiring on-demand workers is not an easy job and the process should definitely start with you learning more about the contingent workforce. So here’s a little guide that will teach you the basics of contingent employment in Australia and how you can make it work for your company:

What are contingent workers?

Contingent workers are not exactly employees of a certain company—they work under a temporary contract or on a temporary basis. While permanent employees stay with the company all year round, contingent workers’ retention depends on the existence of a single task or job. For instance, imagine that your company has a job that needs to be handled right now but not in the future—you won’t consider hiring a full-time employee that will just sit there after the job is done and take your money. Instead, you will hire a contingent worker who will get the job done, receive payment and move to a different company that requires their help. It’s a good business model that benefits both parties.

Contingent staffing—the basics

The biggest difference between contingent workers and regular workers is that the first one requires business managers to exercise their flexibility (which is a great thing, since our future is pretty uncertain and we always need to stay vigilant). Having the possibility to hire and let go workers in a workforce depending on business requirements will turn your business into an agility force that can solve all issues on the go. When you hire external talent, you can quickly adapt to project demands. However, hiring contingent staff is not easy. Your best path is to check out the hiring pool in Australia or even go global and see what talent hides there.

Pros of contingent workforce

Hiring contingent workers has various benefits, mainly when it comes to lower payroll expenses. If you decide to manage your contingent staff on your own, you can save money on a fixed payroll in most cases. Plus, with new contractor workforce solutions in Australia, you can manage your contingent workforce smoothly and effectively. With access to contingent workforce management tools, you can manage your employees and ensure accountability of a contingent worker’s contract through a single provider. Also, contingent workers don’t require health insurance and other benefits while providing you with all the flexibility you need. No matter if you need some extra help for a single assignment or during a peak season, the contingent workforce will be a great asset to your business.

Cons of contingent workforce

If you decide to hire a contingent workforce, you can expect to come face to face with two main risks—misclassification of contingent workers and problems with co-employment. It’s very important to classify your contingent workers according to law to ensure proper taxation, worker benefits under the employee retirement income, follow employment laws and avoid the risk of a civil lawsuit.

You also need to pay attention to co-employment (AKA joint employment). Co-employment is a legal term when two businesses have the same rights and responsibilities over one employee and their work or working conditions. The major concern in co-employment relationships is the compliance with labour standards and all federal laws that prohibit discrimination. Just because your employee is in a co-employment relationship, it doesn’t mean you don’t have any liability, so stay vigilant and lawful.

How to find a contingent workforce?

Like we mentioned above, you can do the process of hiring yourself by checking out talent pools, but if you don’t have time to recruit, onboard and payroll your staff, you can transfer all hiring needs to a third party in Australia. This process is called Employer of Record, and when you have these experts on your side, you don’t have to worry about compliance and classification. An employer or record will allow your business to focus on growth instead of managing HR.

Hiring contingent workers can benefit almost every business, especially during these uncertain times. If you need extra staff that has all the expertise required, contingent workers will be waiting for your call and offer you just what you need.


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