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Is Gen Y Entering The Contingent Workforce?

Posted by Louis Flory

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7/10/14 2:38 PM


Contingent workers are defined as contractors, consultants, and others who are hired on a more temporary basis than normal employees. Between 1997 and 2013, the contingent workforce has grown by more than 500%, making these workers far and away the quickest-growing portion of today’s workforce. At the same time, workers from Generation Y are poised to become a huge presence in the working world: by 2025, three-fourths of the global workforce will be comprised of workers from Generation Y. After examining the pertinent information, you will see that statistics and surveys about the mindset of workers from Generation Y have consistently shown that these workers' values align with those of the contingency workforce more than any other generation that the world has ever seen.

Characteristics Of The Contingent Workforce

Contingent or contractual workers usually have perceptions and attitudes about work that are different than the traditional employee. These differences are both a function of their personalities and a necessity for them to thrive in the kind of work that they have chosen. These characteristics include:
  • The desire to dictate their own hours
  • A strong need for work/life balance
  • An urge to work in a variety of environments
  • A need to gain experience in multiple fields

Here's How to Leverage Your Multigenerational Contingent Workforce

Contingent workers are a valuable part of any organization. Even though they are not as solidly entrenched in the company as regular employees, they still provide a unique perspective that can be hard to get from within the organization. Businesses must have a centralized process in place that will help them with recruitment, onboarding, and management of the contingent workforce.

Characteristics Of The Generation Y Workforce

Although there is no concretely defined date range, Generation Y usually refers to workers born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. They are currently between the ages of 15 and 34. The Millennial generation places value on some of the same things that are important for contingent workers. These values and characteristics are:

  • 69% of Generation Y workers believe that attending an office regularly is unnecessary.
  • 90% of Millennials report that being an entrepreneur refers to a particular mindset, instead of being the owner of a business.
  • The average employment tenure for a Millennial is two years, compared to five years for Generation X and seven years for Baby Boomers.
  • Millennial workers shift the focus of their attention between devices like televisions, tablets, smartphones, and computers 27 times each hour.

These traits align very strongly with some of the characteristics that are needed in the contingent workforce. Contingent workers must be able to switch back and forth to several different projects at once, make their own work schedule, and have a strong desire to work in several different places. This allows them to successfully complete enough work to stay comfortable and enjoy their personal life.

Tips For Reviewing Your Current Contingent Workforce Management Program

As an employer, you will also find value in hiring Millennials in the contingent workforce. Contingent workers allow you to scale your hiring up and down very quickly to fit changes in your organizational needs. You can also save money on taxes and bring in workers who have specific skills for particular projects that you are undertaking. It is clear that Generation Y embodies many of the same characteristics as the contingent workforce, and the sooner this trend is recognized by employers, the easier it will be for both businesses and the new generation of contingent workers to benefit from it.

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Topics: Contingent Workforce Management, Workforce Management, Contingent Workers