Despite fallout from the pandemic and turmoil in parts of the world, many companies are still making plans to expand globally — oftentimes to serve their growing customers but also to increase their own footprints and take advantage of international opportunities. And when SIA asked buyers in its 2021 North America Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey about their current and likely usage of selected management strategies, 38% said global management of their contingent workforce was already in place; a similar amount, 39%, said such a move was likely to be seriously explored within two years.

Regardless of your timeline, knowing which countries will prove the easiest to navigate will serve you well.

Organizations considering global expansion should consider the complexity of potential expansion markets, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses. To help in this regard, SIA recently released its “Most Complex Contingent Markets Globally 2022” report.

The report examines global market complexity rather than attractiveness. It compares 75 contingent markets across 12 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.

Least complex. Australia and the Netherlands tied as the least complex markets in the report overall, followed by the UK and New Zealand respectively. The US ranked as the fifth least-complex market globally, up one spot from the No. 6 spot in the 2021 report but still behind the fourth spot it held in 2020. Canada ranked seventh, unchanged from the 2021 research.

Lesser complex. The geographies of the lesser complex were “very mixed,” according to the report, with the top 10 containing four countries from Europe, and two each from Asia, Oceania and North America. On the flip side, Egypt ranked as the most complex market, with Algeria and North Macedonia in joint second. Generally, this report finds the highest complexity scores in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Americas. In the Americas region, the US and Canada ranked as the least complex staffing markets. Their complexity scores are some of the lowest overall, and they both score very well in temporary agency work regulations, MSP/VMS maturity, employment regulation rigidity and legislative environments. However, aspects to stay cautious of in these markets are the US’ relatively low usage of independent contractors and Canada’s heavy trade union influence.

The markets that have become less complex than a year ago are predominantly found in Latin America. Meanwhile, those with the most significant increases in complexity are mainly from Asia and Central Europe.

“With specific indicators such as temporary work regulations, legislative environment, and political landscape all being relatively stable, the critical factors for a market’s score significantly changing were generally pricing environment and Covid recovery,” the report states.

Most of the factors correlate somewhat with the overall complexity scores for each country. Those that are more complex generally have the most immature markets, harshest political landscapes, poorest Covid recovery and least access to human capital, according to the report. However, there are redeeming aspects, with many of these markets having higher rates of independent contractors and weaker trade union influences.

The “Most Complex Contingent Markets Globally 2022” report is available online to SIA’s CWS Council members. Members can also access an interactive, web-based assessment tool to refine the analytical framework to suit their companies’ needs and business strategy.