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The Rise of the Contingent Workforce in the Asia Pacific Region

September 23, 2018

Asia Pacific Companies are increasingly finding ways to run their business with an ever-growing percentage of freelancers, independent contractors and consultants.

That’s the finding of the latest KellyOCG Workforce Agility Barometer report. According to this year’s just published results, one in every C-suite level executives said their use of these so-called “contingent” workers made up more than 30% of their total workforce. That’s up 13% from 2017’s data.

These contingent workers are hired on-demand and not part of the regular full-time workforce. They can be individuals hired for any of these positions, or individuals working within companies hired to fulfill temporary needs within the companies.

These workers typically are used to fill from entry-level up to as high as mid-level roles, defying the stereotype of the traditional temporary employee. They are increasing in importance both because of the rapid growth of the Asia-Pacific economy, as well as because the average length of time permanent employees stay with companies in the area is now less than three years.

Another shift from the past is that now only 40% of the C-suite execs said they’re providing less benefits and lower compensation to these contingent workers, as compared to regular employees. They also said that the “onboarding” process for these “temps” was quite similar to that for the permanent ones.

As Francis Padamadan, Senior Director, Asia Pacific, RPO & BPS Practice at KellyOCG noted, “Many leaders are getting access to hard to find skills sets and talent pool by deploying contingent workforce. This marks a significant shift for businesses in India and organizations that successfully engage this pool of talent will have an edge over their counterparts in the market.”

The report went on to note that, “As the tenures of contingent and permanent workers continue to equalise, organisations must stay focused on finding the best talent despite their preferred work arrangement and employ talent strategies to attract, integrate and retain them.”

This year’s study results came from a YouGov-run online survey conducted for KellyOCG. Over 200 senior executives were contacted across Singapore, Australia, India and Malaysia as part of the process. The report also sampled industries ranging from banking and financial services, medical care, manufacturing, and education.