The past year saw many expected and unexpected events that affected the workforce ecosystem and the world. The war in Ukraine and the inflation crisis caused unforeseen changes that impacted how CW program managers operate, while legal and regulatory changes also affected CW program managers.

Keeping aware and current of coming changes is critical to your CW program and your organization.

With that in mind, SIA’s CWS Council leaders have identified 15 trends that could impact your CW program and the industry in 2023. These insights cover legal landscapes, talent, technology and program management. Here are the first seven.

Pay transparency/pay equity is here to stay. The topic of pay transparency and pay equity is not only here to stay in the US — it’s a global initiative. Several countries across the globe already have pay transparency legal and regulatory steps in place. Dawn McCartney, SIA’s VP, Contingent Workforce Strategies Council, advises program managers in the US to be prepared. “Currently, there are a handful of states with this requirement; we can and do expect there to be more.” Meanwhile, the EU is currently approving a pay transparency directive, and there are already pay transparency requirements in place across some Asian countries. CW program managers should be aware of which countries are participating in order to ensure compliance with international laws.

New DOL IC classification standard. The US Department of Labor is moving forward with a new rule aimed at determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. CW program managers should also understand that local and state governments’ approaches to worker classification could differ from federal rules. “It is time to start aligning engagement classifications and compliance requirements to the new fed rules,” says Stephen Clancy, senior director of CWS knowledge and research. “Expect an increase in compliance audit activity, especially in a potentially slow macro-economic environment.”

ICs win the day. Still, the use of independent contractors is not going away in 2023; in fact, there’s an expected increase of 23% in the use of ICs by CW programs, despite organizations being hesitant to engage this group. According to Frank Enriquez, SIA’s senior manager, contingent workforce strategies and research, Americas, the best talent may be classified as independent contractors.

Always remote. More employers will be looking to bring their workers back into the office to make use of real estate and to have workers engage with each other, but given the shift to more flexible working methods, the office may just be another place to work remotely. This means that we are now in an “always remote world” where the laptop, the internet and the cloud are the office. Peter Reagan, senior director of Contingent Workforce Strategies Council, says, “It is essential to remember that given the new working methods around world, your office is simply another remote location.”

Total talent becomes a real conversation. SIA’s Workforce Solutions Buyer survey last year showed that more than half, 52%, of companies are likely to explore total talent acquisition within two years. While there are some obstacles, including technology, more companies are expected to embrace total talent. “With advancements in total talent technology and a progressive buyer mindset towards talent, a total talent strategy becomes more viable than it may have been in the past,” Chris Paden, senior director, Contingent Workforce Strategies Council, Americas, says.

Employer branding in greater focus. With contingent workers increasingly accounting for a larger proportion of the overall workforce, it is important that businesses invest in attracting these workers. It’s now time for your organizations to reassess your engagement brand and value proposition. “A trend for 2023 will center on how companies are branding themselves to all talent communities and delivering similar experiences to candidates, irrespective of how a person engages with the company (full-time, SOW, freelancer, etc.),” Matt Norton, workforce solutions research director, says.

Direct-sourcing automation. More than half of CW managers expect to increase their future direct-sourcing development. As direct sourcing continues to evolve, automation is fundamental to program scaling in 2023. “Pure play direct sourcing requires a significant advancement in the use of bots to identify, attract and maintain the engagement of talent (in real time) within private talent pools,” Reagan says. “Otherwise, there is a risk that these solutions become simply enhanced staffing services rather than anything significantly new, with talent pools becoming databases and the role of the curator being little different from that of a great recruiter from the ’90s.”

This article concludes in the next issue with eight more trends program managers can expect to see in 2023.