Contingent Labor refers to a certain form of employment between employees and employers. In regular language, contingent labor can mean any type of work which is not secure or regular. However, in the recruiting industry, contingent laboring refers to working which in general is paid hourly and in which the employer is a separate entity than the company where the employee works. Contingent labor usually connotes temporary employment or “temp work,” where a third party staffing firm hires an individual as an employee or W2 independent contractor and then places that individual onsite at one of the firm’s clients.
Contingent labor applies to any number of different types of jobs and relationships. Companies use contingent labor as part of their workforce when they need any number of different functions on a short term or simply immediate basis. Almost every position can now be sourced in a contingent manner, whether computer consultants, executive assistants, accountants, manual labor, and legal council. For employees, working in this manner is sometimes a stop gap, sometimes a way to find a new full-time job, and sometimes a permanent work lifestyle.
It should be said that contingent labor now applies to a very broad set of work relationships. The term used to apply only to employees which were hired through temp firms and staffing companies. However, it should now apply to any relationship between employee and employer which has an expected end in the short term. Many times, individuals have their own incorporated entities, and work with companies on an independent contractor status or as a full vendor paid like a regular company. These types of contingent work relationships are, as a ratio, growing very rapidly in the United States. The assumption of work stability appears to be gone and contingent labor, which was once used only for quick fills, is being used for every type of position across a company.