As much time as we’ve all spent adapting to the realities of the pandemic - the changes to what our employees need, what our customers want, and how our companies succeed - it’s now time to think about what the world will look like down the road in the post-COVID world.
To prepare for the future, we’ve developed a list of 5 hourly workforce trends that we believe will continue or even accelerate after the pandemic ends. The full guide goes through all five in detail, including what’s causing these trends and why they’re important for employers. But there’s one we think will be particularly important over the next few years: the increased reliance on temporary or contingent work.
For decades now, companies have been looking to find more flexible options for keeping their hourly workforce fully staffed and at peak productivity. With the changes and uncertainties businesses have faced over the past year, the need for a more flexible workforce and reliance on temporary staff will continue to grow.
Seventy percent of executives in one survey stated that they expect to use more temporary workers onsite two years from now than they did before the COVID-19 crisis.
In another study, 19.2 percent of global CEOs surveyed said that maintaining a smaller permanent workforce and using more temporary and flexible workers will be one of the top five long-term human capital impacts of COVID.
So what are the real benefits of a flexible contingent workforce model?
Employing a worker directly can cost up to 60 percent of the worker’s yearly wages in recruiting costs, payroll, human resources, and benefits administration alone. It’s hugely expensive to bring on permanent, direct-hire employees, and to keep them on your payroll. By working with a contingent workforce provider like Bluecrew, it’s easy to save on these extensive costs.
The costs of recruiting, internal human resources and compliance resources, internal payroll, and all of the protections and benefits of W-2 employment add up quickly (and we know how important W-2 status is to get a quality, reliable workforce). And all of those burdens are offloaded to your contingent workforce partner. Even when staffing mark-ups include employee benefits and workers’ compensation, employers still save on internal headcount for the human resources, finance, recruiting, and compliance professionals who would be needed to manage employment for large numbers of hourly workers.
As many businesses have been forced to evaluate their expenses closely during the pandemic and account for unnecessary costs, relying on a high-quality contingent hourly workforce can be one of the easiest ways to save on the bottom line without sacrificing where it counts.
Over the course of the pandemic, most businesses have seen the extreme value of being able to dial their hourly workforce up and down quickly with demand.
At the start, many felt the pressure of shelter-in-place orders and lacking consumer demand, and saw the value of being able to temporarily offload their workforce, knowing there would be qualified workers ready to come back with the time came. Those businesses then had the pain of needing to recruit as they’ve ramped back up over the course of the last year - or are dreading a time-consuming recruiting process in the coming months.
For others - particularly businesses offering delivery of essential goods or e-commerce platforms for in-demand products like toilet paper and cleaning supplies - there was a huge need to turn up the dial to hire quickly. Some businesses simply couldn’t hire enough workers fast enough to keep up with demand.
All of these experiences have underscored the importance of having a flexible contingent option like Bluecrew’s Elastic Hourly Workforce. Looking to the future, this type of flexibility isn’t just for pandemics - it’s the best option for keeping expenses low in slow seasons and ramping up quickly for seasonal peaks or unpredictable demand.
On the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will see relying on a qualified contingent workforce as one of the simplest ways to keep overhead low and costs more flexible.
At the start of the pandemic, layoffs were motivated by the fact that companies simply had too much overhead to stay solvent. Directly employing your entire hourly workforce leaves you with a large immovable cost on the books, every month. Tapping into a flexible temporary workforce keeps employment costs flexible, giving businesses a greater ability to respond quickly to external and internal changes.
While we are hoping not to encounter another global pandemic anytime soon, this experience has shown employers across the board the value of being able to quickly and efficiently adjust their hourly workforce. This is especially true as high-quality options like our Elastic Hourly Workforce have made it possible to harness the advantages of contingent work without compromising quality or productivity.
Want to learn more about what’s coming for hourly workforce management in the post-COVID world? Download our latest guide.
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