Many characteristics drive continuous improvement and innovation in contingent workforce programs, but there’s one that primarily pushes the industry forward: curiosity. Without it, you will be left behind.

This was the message delivered by Peter Reagan, senior director of SIA’s Contingent Workforce Strategies Council, in his opening keynote address at this week’s CWS Summit Europe event in London.

Curiosity has driven the industry’s evolution and spurred its biggest changes, such as the rise of staffing platforms and the exponential use of automation. Without this characteristic, the industry will stagnate, Reagan said, highlighting that the trait is vital to “how we as individuals can impact change.”

This curiosity will help organizations face their biggest challenges, including rising inflation and costs. Indeed, CW professionals told SIA that managing rising costs is a top priority for their programs.

Other top priorities for CW programs in Europe include:

  • Implementation of a vendor management system
  • Supplier optimization
  • Prioritization of direct sourcing

Reagan also highlighted that, according to SIA research, almost half of contingent workforce programs have responded to talent shortages by raising pay rates, changing vendors and allowing more flexibility for remote work.

Additionally, Reagan addressed concerns about artificial intelligence’s impact on CW programs, saying it would largely have a positive impact. Technology overall adapts to the need of consumers, he said, adding that AI will likely bring yet unforeseen benefits and functionality to its users.

CWS Summit Europe took place May 21 and May 22 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.