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COVID-19 has accelerated workforce agility, with 56% of employers looking to shift more roles to flexible work arrangements.

HR leaders are increasingly turning to contingent talent to support ongoing global recovery efforts

ATLANTA, May 18, 2021 — The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition away from traditional workforce models, and 56% of companies are expecting to shift more of their roles to contingent, project or contract work as a result, according to a new report released today by Randstad Sourceright.

Randstad Sourceright's 2021 Talent Trends research, based on responses from 850 C-suite and talent leaders across 17 markets globally, found that the pandemic has led companies to increasingly adopt a more flexible approach to talent while also still maintaining key expertise and skills within their permanent workforce to better adapt to ongoing economic recovery efforts. In particular, the survey found that 77% of C-suite and HR leaders say their talent strategy is now more focused on workforce agility than ever before.

Mike Smith, CEO, Randstad Sourceright workforce agility"As organizations embrace a more agile way of working during the recovery and in the future, simply engaging more contingent talent may not be enough. Companies will need to look at their workforce and skills more holistically. This requires nurturing a diverse and inclusive culture, investing in a consumer-like talent experience enabled by technology, and using market intelligence and talent analytics to understand skills availability," said Mike Smith, global CEO of Randstad Sourceright. "It's a chaotic time, but disruption often leads to transformative results, and organizations should consider how to take this opportunity to redefine work and the use of all forms of talent."

According to McKinsey & Company, flexible labor has the potential to be the key to a company's success in 2021, and as businesses turn to more contingent talent in the year ahead, Staffing Industry Analysts predicts that the overall U.S. staffing sector will grow by 12% in 2021.

With the increased focus on contingent talent, businesses are realizing there is an opportunity to leverage their recruitment capabilities not only for permanent talent, but to attract and engage with flexible talent as well. In fact, 69% of organizations expect to implement total talent management in 2021, and nearly half (47%) of organizations are increasing budgets allocated for total talent investment.

To aid recruitment efforts, companies are tapping HR technology tools to redefine and enhance their talent acquisition strategies. Seventy-one percent of organizations say AI-powered solutions and robotics will make the recruitment process more efficient, and the same percentage say they will be able to source, attract and engage more of the right type of talent.

"Deploying talent analytics is essential for companies trying to achieve greater agility," said Smith. "During this period of recovery, it's imperative that organizations are assessing how leveraging new tools and data can expedite their development of a more holistic, agile workforce strategy."

Q2 2021 Talent Trends Quarterly report: key findings

  • The concept of the workforce is becoming less defined:
    More than half (51%) of employers say they have consolidated internal responsibilities for permanent and contingent workers. This number was just 44% in 2020.
  • Remote work is on the rise among contingent talent:
    Prior to the pandemic, only 28% of contingent workers at companies surveyed worked remotely, but after the outbreak, that number rose to 44% in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • AI creates jobs and displaces workers:
    Seventy-two percent of talent leaders believe that AI will open up new opportunities for talent, but 52% also say jobs will be lost from broad adoption of automation and artificial intelligence.
  • Companies are embracing talent analytics:
    Forty-two percent report they are increasing their investments in talent analytics, and another 36% are holding their talent analytics budget steady.

For more information, download your copy of the Q2 2021 issue of Talent Trends Quarterly, "The rise of the agile workforce."