What does 2023 look like for the contingent workforce? We asked 8 industry experts

Hear from industry experts on their top 2023 predictions

June 19, 2024

As 2023 gets closer we’re all deep in strategy planning mode for the coming year. But the contingent work space specifically is constantly evolving and this makes planning for a new year a little more challenging. 

With attitudes around the way we work changing at an accelerated pace due to the aftermath of the pandemic, the Great Resignation, and the rise of remote work we wanted to get a clear picture of the future of work. We talked to leading industry experts to learn about their top predictions for 2023 and what program managers should focus on to ensure workforce success in the new year. 

We’re getting closer to industry standards for the contingent workforce 

“I think the external workforce is going to still be sort of navigating the changes of the post-pandemic, what that looks like. So I think it’s a little bit open - I don’t think there are best practices quite yet for the contingent workforce. But I think we are getting closer. People talking about it more and coming together about it more will help navigate what those next steps are.”

Marie Morgan, Director of Human Resources, Petrol Advertising

Workers want work that excites them, not stability

“My prediction for the external workforce in 2023 is companies need to be more nimble with how they work with external workforces because these external workers essentially hold all the cards. You’re not seeing workers who are coming in and hoping to have a three-month contract to a full-time gig, they are hoping to take the next job. They don’t want to find somewhere to stay long term, they want to continue to choose work that excites them. So if companies aren’t offering more to get them to come back for better projects once they’ve worked with them, then really you’re losing quality contractors each time you use them."

Winifred Parnes, Manager, Design Operations, Interactive Design, HBO

Contingent workforce programs will level up

“I think everybody has put a lot of foundation in place over the past 10-20 years. But given the talent market and everything that’s going on around us, a lot of organizations are really thinking about that next iteration and how they take it to the next level across their labor channels. I think people just want to be more nimble, people want to be able to hire the right talent at the right times without a lot of interruption. So I think that’s going to be a different approach to what’s been done in the labor market.”

Chris Paden, Contingent Workforce Strategist, SIA 

A scalable workforce will help you survive any further turbulence heading our way 

"The push for a more agile workforce will drastically expand in 2023. We're coming on the back off a large number of layoffs in the tech industry. Any technology will say a) innovation is the key for their success and b) people is what creates innovation. This leaves you in a dilemma: How can I continue to innovate in an environment where we're reducing headcount growth? You essentially want to make sure that you have an agile workforce that you quickly can scale up and down and move to the areas where you need innovation the most."

Morten Bruun, VP Global Operations, Worksome

Flexible work is the key to retaining talent — and it improves happiness and diversity, as well 

"Flexible and remote working will be key to retaining talent and diversifying a company's workforce. During the pandemic, employees found a way to work that worked for them. This included many people moving away from expensive city centers and relocating to be closer to their families, nature, or cheaper housing markets. And from all the data we've seen, these changes are positive for both the employee and the company - from increasing work productivity and happiness to diversifying their workforce and leadership
What 20-year-old workers without children need is very different from what 40-year-olds with children need. The adaption of distributed work best practices and asynchronous communication will enable companies to empower their employees to work in a way that works best for them."

Laura Jeffords Greenberg, Senior Director of Legal and Compliance, Worksome

Workers will continue to need work that makes them happy and keeps them engaged — whether companies want them to or not 

"The reflections and learnings that emerged during the pandemic - essentially some of the aspects that drove the Great resignation will stay, I’m sure. We have already seen the shifting preferences from employees materialize into incorporated flexibility within companies, focus on wellbeing, and a rise in flexible workers.
Quiet quitting is, from my perspective, not a new concept but just a new name for disengagement and basically one of the arguments we founded Worksome on. We want people to be able to work on stuff they love and not feel dissatisfied because of the work structures put on them by the company/industry/society. Disengaged employees will remain but hopefully, we can decrease the percentage over time."

Christina Brun Petersen, Co-Founder & Chief People Officer, Worksome 

Organizations will need to shape their talent strategies around younger workers and their unique needs and wants

“The younger generations are facing a lot of adversity in the world. Cost-of-living prices are high, slim chances of getting in on the housing market, and thinking more about their ideal work setup and freedom in general. They’re developing a greater sense of self-worth and being much better at drawing boundaries around their work and their life. What were going to see more of is individualism in terms of what they want from work and how they show up. Organizations will need to adapt. We need to do more than the lip service of saying HR is about people and actually craft our people organizations around their needs so that we’re providing workers with the experience they actually want.”

Jen Swain, Managing Director, Beatfreeks

Smarter resourcing is better for both organizations and workers themselves

“I think we’re going to see a change from a traditional method of talent to where we can see where we actually have capacity and needs. Instead of hiring someone to sit there for 40 hours a week, we can hire a freelancer and they can work for the amount of time that is actually needed. This lets us be smarter and more efficient with resourcing. I would rather employ someone on an hourly or project basis, so we’re not paying them for downtime. It also gives the worker the ability to take on multiple projects at once, so it can be better for them as well and beneficial for everyone.”

David Fitzgerald, Operational Resource Manager, Publicis Health

External workforce management in 2023

For a deeper look into the future of external workforce management, check out our new report The 2023 State of External Workforce Management. And if you’re looking to re-evaluate your processes to put better ones in place for the new year check out our guide, How Worksome fits into your current tech stack, to learn how we simplify the five layers between your hiring managers and external workers into just one.