Even in the face of economic turmoil and geopolitical instability in parts of the world, many companies are planning to pursue global expansion. And when SIA asked buyers in its 2023 North America Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey about their current and likely usage of selected management strategies, 39% said global management of their contingent workforce was already in place; a similar amount, 40%, said such a move was likely to be seriously explored within two years.

If your organization is considering global expansion, you will want to evaluate the complexity of potential expansion markets and their strengths and weaknesses. To that end, SIA recently released its Most Complex Contingent Markets Globally 2023 report to help you determine which countries will be easier to navigate in your expansion efforts.

The report examines global market complexity rather than attractiveness. It compares 75 contingent markets across 14 different criteria that assess the merits and characteristics of each market to determine the complexity of establishing a contingent workforce. Factors measured to rank the contingent markets include market maturity, regulations, pricing environment, political landscape and recovery from the pandemic. Two new criteria — economic uncertainty and demographics — were added this year in order to address the growing significance of recessions, unemployment and labor shortages. In addition, five criteria — human capital, Covid recovery, social dialogue barriers (formerly trade union influence), temporary agency worker regulations and employment regulations rigidity — were adapted to improve their accuracy and practicality.

Least complex. Australia ranked as the least complex market overall, with the Netherlands coming in a very close second. New Zealand ranked third least complex, and Singapore ranked fourth; however, both countries saw a rise in their complexity scores over last year. Switzerland’s score took a sizeable plunge from 2022, dropping eight points and ranking fifth least complex this year. Iceland and Ireland tied for sixth least complex, dropping five and four points respectively from 2022.

Most complex. Russia is the most complex market globally in this year’s analysis, followed by Algeria and Egypt. In particular, Russia scored among the most complex markets for its staffing market maturity, independent contractor usage, temporary agency work regulations, governance quality and political landscape — perhaps not surprising in light of the ongoing war with Ukraine. Mexico, the fifth most complex staffing market overall, ranked highest among countries in the Americas region, while Kazakhstan (11th most complex overall) is the most complex APAC market.

Americas. The US ranked 12th least complex this year overall, a noticeable jump from its 2022 ranking of fifth least complex, and Canada ranked 11th least complex this year; although both countries rose in complexity rankings, their overall complexity scores dropped from last year. Looking at just the Americas region, Canada and the US are the least complex markets, with exceptional scores in their MSP/VMS maturity and employment regulations rigidity. However, the US is challenged by its relatively low presence of independent contractors and poor recovery from the pandemic.

Whether your goal is to expand your program’s footprint, better serve your clientele, further your organization’s growth trajectory and/or pursue other opportunities, our researchers hope this report helps you understand where various complexities will arise when considering expansion for your contingent workforce program.

The Most Complex Contingent Markets Globally 2023 report is available online to members of SIA’s CWS Council. Members can also access an interactive, online assessment tool to refine the analytical framework to suit their companies’ needs and business strategy.