This autumn, I attended many industry conferences — several from SIA, including the CWS Summit. A recurring theme at all of them has been the economic landscape and its effect on the ecosystem. The outlook remains optimistic, echoing historical patterns where the use of contingent labor tends to lead the way to recovery.

Now is the opportune moment for contingent workforce program management professionals to adopt a strategic approach and formulate plans for the impending hiring surge. Several key considerations should shape your strategic plan, drawing insights from the extensive data available in your vendor management system.

Skill shifts. Reevaluate the relevance of skills, recognizing that what was once in demand may not be needed today. Engage with your suppliers to understand sourcing alternatives, considering changes in both source and delivery methods.

Compensation dynamics. Acknowledge the rise in costs across the board, including compensation. Factor in current pay rates as you gear up for increased hiring.

Pay parity. Be mindful of pay differentials between existing employees and sought-after talent in the market. Comply with pay parity laws in various states to retain your workforce amidst competitive offers.

Upskilling initiatives. Explore opportunities to retain your current workforce and enhance their skills for the evolving workplace. Identify candidates for upskilling programs, plan for execution and allocate budgets accordingly.

Contingent versus permanent ratio. Reassess your historical mix of contingent and permanent staff. Consider adjusting the ratio to enhance flexibility in adapting to the evolving normal.

Temporary versus core roles. Strategize on distinguishing between temporary and core roles across departments. This process demands internal selling, meticulous planning and sourcing adjustments to accommodate partial role sourcing.

Automation integration. Embrace automation for efficiency gains but recognize the need for refining irreplaceable skills. Automation should prompt skill refinement rather than complete replacement.

As the industry navigates through these considerations, a well-thought-out and proactive strategy will not only weather the challenges posed by the current economic status but also position enterprises for success in the emerging landscape.