SIA’s CWS Council leaders have identified 15 trends that could impact your CW program and the industry in 2023, including legal landscapes, talent, technology and program management. In the previous issue of CWS 3.0, we identified seven; here are the final eight.

Skills testing and the potential ROI. Skills testing presents a major opportunity for the industry. Being able to prove that a candidate has the skills that they say they have is crucial in the current climate. Skills testing saves time, helps reduce the chance of candidate ghosting and can show a measurable return on investment. “Skills testing isn’t a new concept, but the delivery method via advanced technology is changing the staffing industry in a big way,” says Frank Enriquez, SIA’s senior manager, contingent workforce strategies and research, Americas. “Some buyers are experiencing tremendous time savings as well by being able to have the interview recorded as the candidate proves their skills.”

VMS market consolidations and integrations continue. The VMS market is rapidly evolving, and recent M&A activity is set to continue. While the level of M&A activity might be slightly lower in 2023, further market consolidation is expected along with continued announcements of partner integrations as the spur to innovate and client demand drive change. “The consolidation that we have witnessed in the past 18 months will continue. Providers are looking to enhance their service and geographical capabilities either through acquisition and/or partnerships,” says Matt Norton, workforce solutions research director, says.

Bots and robots become a resource solution. The ecosystem is expected to see an increase of 30% of buyers using bots and robots in some regard in 2023. Solution providers, suppliers, VMS, MSPs and payrolling companies are also dipping their toes in the water when it comes to using such tools.

Supplier dependency review. CW managers should look at their suppliers and what their dependency looks like as well as their financial standing and any other concerns. In addition to commercial reviews, they should ask suppliers about their financial status and find out about how they’re evolving. “In the latter part of 2022 and already in 2023, we continue to see news stories around mergers and acquisitions of providers,” says Dawn McCartney, SIA’s VP, Contingent Workforce Strategies Council. “Taking the time to review your suppliers and your dependency on [them] and understanding their current financial standings is critical.”

SOW channel optimization. This has already been an area of focus for many organizations. This year we will see organizations go beyond the initial framework of an SOW program. “Programs are starting to ask themselves what the next value offering of their SOW program will be and thinking differently about how to best support these channels,” says Chris Paden, senior director, Contingent Workforce Strategies Council.

Known solution partner consolidation leverage. There are many providers on the market who can provide both staff augmentation and SOW solutions and who are already proven partners. Extending the optimization leverage is the next step. “Impactful sourcing for staff augmentation and/or statement-of-work solutions can be optimized through consolidating the number of solution partners engaged for each of these solution categories, but engaging with partners who can do both will supercharge one’s optimization plan with some of the same partners you already know and trust,” says Stephen Clancy, senior director of CWS knowledge and research.

Revival of the rate card. Last year, buyers were desperate for talent — but now the paradigm seems to be shifting, and more program managers are going to find themselves having conversations about revisiting payment agreements. “Economic uncertainty, cost constraints and a big focus on cost savings have caused an increased interest in the re-creation and revision of rates and rate cards,” McCartney says.

Is SOW included in your CW program? Peter Reagan, senior director of Contingent Workforce Strategies Council, predicts that in 2023, less than one in 10 programs will have outsourced projects services within their CW program and under control. Up to 36% of respondents in a recent Americas buyer survey said that their SOW is managed by the contingent workforce program or its MSP. “Don’t be alarmed if you do not have outsourcing included within your CW program,” Reagan adds.