As part of SIA’s annual Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey, large companies in North America — those with 1,000-plus employees — were asked which workforce strategies are currently in place in their organization, or they are likely to be seriously explore within two years.

The 2021 survey found a program for diversity suppliers is the most-used workforce strategy, currently in place today at 71% of responding companies, followed closely by consolidation of staffing suppliers, at 70%. When considering the use expected within the next two years, both of these strategies approach 100%.

Statement-of-work and supplier tiering were also popular contingent workforce strategies.

“Interestingly, total talent acquisition is only in place today at 6% of participating companies, but 63% expect such a program to be in seriously explored within two years,” according to the report.

Buyers’ use of workforce strategies, 2021

Contingent Usage

Participants were asked to estimate the percentage of their organization’s workforce that is contingent. In 2021, on average, contingents comprised 20% of the respondents’ total workforce.

This average is in line with levels in recent years, which since 2016 have ranged from 20% to 22%.

“As the mix of companies surveyed varies from year to year, we recommend caution in interpreting changes in the averages from one year to the next, particularly regarding small changes. Nevertheless, the substantial increase from 2009 to 2016 does indicate a general growth in the use of contingent workers,” the report states. “Over the last few years, that trend appears to have plateaued.”

The survey also queried about projected contingent usage. Generally, companies project the contingent share of their workforce to be greater two years from now at 22%, increasing to an average 27% 10 years from now. However, the report notes that respondents have been projecting increases for some time, and since 2016, those increases have not materialized.

The survey was conducted in April and May and reflects the responses of companies with contingent workforce and/or RPO programs in the Americas region.