79% of Exec­ut­ives State They are Look­ing to Hire Con­tract­ors to Fill Man­age­ment and Seni­or Exec­ut­ive Roles, Includ­ing C-suite

Maven­link, the lead­ing pro­vider of cloud-based soft­ware for the mod­ern ser­vices organ­iz­a­tion and a Gart­ner Cool Vendor*, released a new research study today titled, “The White-Col­lar Gig Eco­nomy: On-Demand Work­force Trends Accord­ing to Today’s Busi­ness Lead­ers.” The study uncov­ers sig­ni­fic­ant trends in enter­prise use of extern­al con­tract­ors; grow­ing enter­prise demand for on-demand sup­port, influx of highly skilled con­tract­ors into the work­force, busi­ness chal­lenges, and increased indi­vidu­al interest in flex­ible work struc­tures. Togeth­er, the find­ings point to a uni­ver­sal move­ment toward an on-demand, white-col­lar work­force.

Top find­ings include:

  • 94% of busi­ness lead­ers plan to con­tin­ue using or expand their use of skilled con­tract­ors for spe­cial­ized roles in the next year.
  • 79% of exec­ut­ives state lever­aging con­tract­ors is a com­pet­it­ive advant­age, cit­ing an increase in agil­ity as the primary bene­fit.
  • 47% state they are look­ing to hire con­tract­ors to fill man­age­ment and seni­or exec­ut­ive roles, includ­ing c-suite con­tract­ors.
  • The two qual­it­ies lead­ers value most in poten­tial con­tract­ors are spe­cial­ized degrees (35%) and a dec­ade or more of exper­i­ence (29%).
  • 69% of organ­iz­a­tions have inad­equate sup­port struc­tures and policies for man­aging on-demand tal­ent, and 77 per­cent state they do not under­stand what changes are required to bet­ter man­age con­tract­ors.
    63% of full-time exec­ut­ives would switch to become a con­tract­or, giv­en the oppor­tun­ity.
  • Job security—not benefits—is the num­ber one reas­on full time employ­ees remain in their role. 62% of white col­lar work­ers pri­or­it­ize secur­ity, while only 23% rate bene­fits as the most import­ant.

In the midst of major trans­form­a­tion, exec­ut­ives are being forced to reima­gine how they organ­ize and man­age the work­force, and increas­ingly we see that con­tract­ors are the pre­ferred mod­el of the future,” said Ray Grainger, CEO and Founder of Maven­link. “Our view­point is that it’s an abso­lute must that organ­iz­a­tions tap into expert­ise they don’t have in the form of extern­al resources. Some­times this is an indi­vidu­al, and that is a grow­ing seg­ment of the work­force. In addi­tion, we see an explo­sion in busi­nesses lever­aging spe­cialty ser­vices firms.

The object­ive of this research was to under­stand how com­pan­ies can bet­ter take advant­age of the trans­form­a­tion tak­ing place, and identi­fy what insights and pro­cesses they may need to effect­ively man­age a more flu­id work­force. Our hope is to elev­ate the con­ver­sa­tion sur­round­ing what many refer to as the gig eco­nomy, and high­light the sig­ni­fic­ant eco­nom­ic oppor­tun­ity in lever­aging con­tract­ors, freel­an­cers, and sub-pro­viders.”

Trend One: On-Demand Work­ers: A Com­pet­it­ive Advant­age

Busi­ness land­scapes are chan­ging at an unpre­ced­en­ted rate, and the accel­er­ated pace of work has made rap­id adapt­ab­il­ity cru­cial for suc­cess. Tra­di­tion­ally, enter­prises have heav­ily val­ued in-house resources, but those struc­tures no longer func­tion as effect­ively. Com­pan­ies need to evolve, expand, and change dir­ec­tion faster than they can hire and train, or imple­ment new pro­cesses. As a res­ult, they’ve turned to third-party con­tract­ors for on-demand sup­port.

Accord­ing to the research, 61 per­cent of busi­ness lead­ers con­sider agil­ity crit­ic­al to suc­cess, and 79 per­cent con­sider the use of con­tract­ors to be a com­pet­it­ive advant­age. All of these also intend to increase their util­iz­a­tion of con­tract­ors over the next year. This will allow them to scale at will, access­ing a broad­er pool of tal­ent and work­ers with more spe­cial­ized skills, without heavy fin­an­cial or time invest­ments.

Trend Two: Expert-Level Work­ers in Demand

Demand for con­tract­ors is not lim­ited to low-level pos­i­tions. 47 per­cent of exec­ut­ives are seek­ing tem­por­ary hires for man­age­ment, seni­or exec­ut­ive, and even c-suite roles. The two qual­it­ies lead­ers value most in poten­tial can­did­ates are spe­cial­ized degrees (35 per­cent) and a dec­ade or more of exper­i­ence (29 per­cent). These highly skilled upper-level work­ers add imme­di­ate value in stra­tegic areas, without requir­ing lengthy onboard­ing. The most heav­ily deman­ded spe­cialty is IT expert­ise.

Trend Three: Employ­ers Grap­pling with a Chan­ging Work­force

Busi­ness strategy has out­paced busi­ness struc­ture, and com­pan­ies fre­quently engage con­tract­ors without a clear sys­tem for man­aging them. Busi­ness lead­ers are tasked with over­see­ing a dis­par­ate and rap­idly chan­ging work­force, coordin­at­ing strategy, and ensur­ing con­sist­ent per­form­ance. This requires insight and con­trol, and artic­u­lated policies to sta­bil­ize work. How­ever, 69 per­cent of par­ti­cipants in the study con­sidered their cur­rent pro­cesses for man­aging con­tract­ors inad­equate, and 34 per­cent had no rel­ev­ant policies at all.

Trend Four: Exec­ut­ives Want In

Employ­ees also stand to bene­fit from a con­tract struc­ture, gain­ing both life­style bene­fits such as sched­ule flex­ib­il­ity and pro­fes­sion­al bene­fits like expos­ure to a wide array of job exper­i­ences. These advant­ages have promp­ted high interest in tem­por­ary roles: 63 per­cent of study par­ti­cipants stated that they would leave their cur­rent full time pos­i­tion for con­sist­ent con­tract work.

The primary motiv­a­tion that busi­ness lead­ers lis­ted for main­tain­ing a full-time job was a sense of secur­ity (62 per­cent), while only 23 per­cent cited bene­fits and only 10 per­cent said salary. 56 per­cent of exec­ut­ives had already con­trac­ted in the past–a num­ber that is likely to increase in the com­ing years.


This study, which was sponsored by Maven­link and led by inde­pend­ent mar­ket research firm Research­Now, con­duc­ted inter­views with 300 pro­fes­sion­als from dif­fer­ent organ­iz­a­tions with titles of dir­ect­or or above. Par­ti­cipants worked for com­pan­ies ran­ging in size from 10–249 employ­ees (26 per­cent) to over 10,000 employ­ees (19 per­cent). Inter­views were con­duc­ted in the United States in July 2017.

About Maven­link

Maven­link deliv­ers enter­prise-class Soft­ware as a Ser­vice (SaaS) that trans­forms how busi­nesses work with dis­trib­uted teams, con­tract­ors and cli­ents around the globe. Mavenlink’s innov­at­ive tech­no­logy suite enables organ­iz­a­tions of any size to suc­cess­fully man­age and scale their people, pro­jects, and profits. Con­sult­ing firms, IT ser­vices organ­iz­a­tions, cre­at­ive agen­cies, and pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices teams in more than 100 coun­tries are run­ning their busi­nesses more effect­ively and pre­dict­ably with Maven­link. Maven­link was recently named to the Red Her­ring 100, and a 2015 Cool Vendor by Gart­ner, the world’s lead­ing tech­no­logy research and advis­ory firm. Learn more at www.mavenlink.com.

* Gart­ner, Cool Vendors in Pro­gram and Port­fo­lio Man­age­ment, 2015, Robert A. Hand­ler, Matt Light, Donna Fitzger­ald, Teresa Jones, 24 April 2015.

David Howell

David Howell

Journalist, Writer, Micro Publisher at Nexus Publishing
Dave Howell is Nexus Publishing. I have been working as a freelance writer, journalist and publisher for the last 20 years. I specialise in technology and business subjects. My work has appeared in the national press and many of the leading technology and business magazines.
David Howell

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