Independent contractors getting another look? That’s one of several trends emerging from the 2015 CWS Summit North America conference for HR and procurement professionals in staffing.

The conference took place last week in Dallas, followed by the CWS Solutions Forum, which took a deeper dive into issues facing contingent workforce managers.

But what was the lowdown from these events? We asked Dawn McCartney, Staffing Industry Analysts’ director of contingent workforce strategies and research, “What key trends and issues were discussed at the CWS Summit and CWS Solutions Forum?”

In terms of independent contractors, many programs avoided their use out of misclassification concerns. However, McCartney said one trend that emerged at the conference is that many workers now seek independent contractor status; they no longer want the employee status forced on them during the last downturn.

“More of them are saying ‘hey, wait a minute, I want to go back to being in IC,’” she said. And that leaves staffing buyers struggling with how to handle them. “Because these workers have the skills they need, they have to figure out how they do this.”

And contingent workforce managers must work with jittery legal departments to understand how independent contractors can be brought on board.

It’s not just IT, McCartney said. Creative services workers are also pursuing IC status.

Independent contractors ranked as just one topic of interest. For staffing buyers with more mature programs, issues included how to expand their programs now that they’ve taken cost savings as far as it can go and how managers at buyers’ firms can use freelancer management systems to self-source candidates.

Another trend: Some staffing buyers have had their programs in place for three to five years and are coming up on renewals. And they are taking a new look at services out there.

However, McCartney said this year’s summit also attracted many people new to the contingent workforce management space.

“Many of them were looking to gain a better understanding of what makes up this whole contingent workforce industry,” she said, adding these attendees were looking at legal and co-employment risks as well as the number of different providers.