Statement-of-work consulting, the future of the gig economy and more were among the hot topics at last weeks’ contingent workforce conferences. The discussions were far-ranging at the Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit North America, for staffing buyers, and the Collaboration in the Gig Economy conference, for the full workforce ecosystem.

Here’s a small sample of what we heard:

  • Statement of work is still a big deal. SOW is similar to traditional contingent labor, but at a fixed price. More and more staffing buyers are trying SOW, with a net 39% planning to use more SOW workers over the next 10 years, according to SIA research cited at the Summit. However, SOW use has its own set of challenges.
    • “The executive sponsorship is critical,” said Nijoe Muckom, VP, vendor management, at Bank of America, during a panel titled “The Hidden Simplicity of SOW.” For one, executive sponsorship is important for getting managers on board with the program or even just avoiding “malicious compliance.”
    • Jason Ezratty, president of Brightfield Strategies, said when approaching executives, familiarize yourself with the person and the state of the organization to know how they think when getting them onboard with a contingent workforce program. “If you’re selling to an executive, know how to sell to an executive,” Ezratty said.
  • The gig economy also continues to grow, and some questioned whether it may be at an inflection point.
  • But doing work done remotely over an online staffing firm can require a different way of thinking.
    • “Doing work in the gig economy requires a shift in understanding and strategy,” said Stephanie Leffler, CEO of OneSpace, a crowdsourcing provider. Leffler said her firm has never been hired by a human resources department, although it seems it’s used by operational managers trying to keep away from HR and procurement as much as possible.
    • But it’s also argued that HR can take part actively in the process of using online platforms. “I think there’s nobody better in the company to do it,” said Zoe Harte, VP of HR and talent innovation at online staffing provider Upwork.
  • Only one half of 1% of Americans cite using an app-based platform as their primary job-search tool, but usage is growing, said Stanford University Business Professor Paul Oyer in a keynote session. Traditional staffing firms will have to upgrade their service to compete with human cloud firms.

For more, see last week’s coverage of the events.

Staffing Industry Analysts next events tailored for contingent workforce professionals are the CWS Summit Europe and the Collaboration in the Gig Economy Europe, which are scheduled for April 2018 in London.