Within a decade, contingent workforce programs will be the driving force of the entire workforce.

That was one message delivered Tuesday during the CWS Summit Europe in London, an event that attracted nearly 700 contingent workforce managers, staffing suppliers and others.

“We are at a tipping point,” said Peter Reagan, senior director, contingent workforce strategies and research, Staffing Industry Analysts, in his keynote speech. “In the next five to 10 years, CW programs are going to be the driving force of the entire workforce.”

Use of freelancers, statement-of-work consultants and agency temps are expected to increase over the next 10 years, he said citing data from SIA on large companies that use contingent labor. A net 42% of large firms plan to increase use of freelancers sourced internally or through online staffing platforms — the net increase represents 52% of firms who planned to moderately or significantly increase their use of freelancers minus the 10% that planned to decrease their use.

In addition, a net 42% of firms also plan to increase their use of statement-of-work consultants. A net 34% plan to increase their use of agency temps. And a net 24% plan to use more workers operating through outsourced vendors.

On the other hand, Reagan noted that a net 7% of firms plan to decrease the share of traditionally hired full-time employees in their workforces.

Reagan also cautioned contingent workforce managers they should not ignore the candidate — their experience is important. As the workforce solutions ecosystem evolves and grows, he asked that they embrace the change.

Other messages in Reagan’s keynote:

  • More contingent workforce programs are reporting to human resources.
  • Chatbots can be a good thing, they reduce recruiters’ workload and improve candidate experience.
  • There is no skills shortage, it’s just that people are in the wrong place.
  • Total talent acquisition is a rising trend.

The CWS Summit Europe concluded today as the next conference, Collaboration in the Gig Economy Europe, kicked off in London.