Companies worldwide spent US$4.5 trillion on contingent work in 2018, according to research from Staffing Industry Analysts. The lion’s share, US$2.67 trillion, was spent on independent or self-employed workers.
SIA defines contingent work as work arrangements that differ from regular/permanent, direct wage and salaried employment. Contingent workers include temporary employees provided by an outside staffing agency and independent contractors/consultants. Contingent workers may also include temporary workers from an internal pool, and others (such as summer interns, seasonal workers, freelancers, “crowd-sourced” workers, etc.) employed directly by an organization for an intentionally limited period. Contingent work also includes statement-of-work (SOW) consultants who work for the company on a short-term basis. While the consultants themselves would likely have an expectation of ongoing employment with their consulting firm, their work for the client is considered contingent.