Contingent Workforce’s, here is a concept that seems to be becoming more common place in the 2016 employment market.

A vaguely similar idea of mercenaries has been around for centuries fighting battles under emperors who they have no real respect or affiliation to. My first introduction to this was watching the 2004 Hollywood film “Troy” starring Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. Brad Pitt played Achilles the great warrior who led his army of Myrmidon to fight against the Spartans under the Greek ruler Agamemnon. How much of that is true and how much of that is embellished for the purpose of making a great film, I don’t know. But back to my original thought of modern day contingent workforce’s.

A contingent workforce is a provisional group of workers who work for an organisation on a non-permanent basis. Also known as temps, contract workers or consultants in some cases.


This type of worker has obviously been around in Private and Public enterprise for a long time, however, I have started to notice this pop up more and more as I speak with clients in the Brisbane market. One of our clients in particular runs a consulting business in Brisbane within the resources industry. As is the case with project work and the resources industry at large, their workload ebbs and flows. Some weeks they are run off their feet and need us to find them 3 or 4 new staff, other weeks the purchase orders are pushed back, the work is put on hold for a few weeks and they find themselves with not a lot to do and a higher than desirable cost base.

Recently they have spoken to some of their staff about reducing their hours during down times to limit their overheads, which was actually received quite well. Some of the staff accept the nature of the industry they are in and acknowledge that they can’t be employed in full time hours all of the time. These staff have, in stark contrast to the Myrmidon, developed very strong loyalty and respect for the business (As the General Manager of Recruitment here at Optimum said, they understand the situation and know we will find them or they will find themselves some other contracting work to fill in their time).

As this faucet of workers gets turned on and off to meet the demands of the workflow continues, I was questioning whether or not the rest of society would change as well?

Will mortgage brokers and banks change the way they lend to allow for peaks and troughs? This is quite often done in the agricultural industry to create a more even cashflow across growing and harvesting seasons, but will they allow the same luxury to white collar professional workers in a volatile working environment?

These are just some of the trends we are seeing emerge and often becoming common place within the Brisbane and wider Australian market.

I would be very interested to hear of anyone else’s experiences with contingent workforce’s to see if this has been a success or a frustration/failure?

Isaac Dufficy – Executive Consultant; Group Solutions

One Reply to “Is The Future In Contingent?”

Nerida Lancaster
January 27, 2016

Very thought provoking and I can see a real opening here for the mature workers. They would be more then happy to accept downtime. They have a lot of experience to bring to the workforce and, because they usually own their home, etc, and are not needing full time work would be more than happy to accept this downtime. Just a thought from a mature worker who would appreciate downtime!!!

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