Countdown to HRTech: Total Talent and Contingent Workforce Management

worker jotting down notes in a notebook during a meeting

One trend I will discuss next month at the HR Technology Conference is total talent and contingent workforce management. This topic is not new in TA tech, but companies now have better technology options to support both traditional and contingent workers. With changes in hiring activities, the shift to remote work, and changing business priorities, the demand for a more flexible workforce has never been greater. According to Aptitude Research, 80% of companies are leveraging contingent workers, and one in three companies increased their investment in 2021. A total talent strategy helps companies fill critical talent gaps, reduce costs, and increase overall productivity. In a year when agility is becoming table stakes for businesses, alternative work arrangements are critical to the future of the workplace.

But, even with the increased investment in contingent labor, companies still face many of the same challenges. Most companies lack visibility into the use, spend, and performance of this workforce segment. And, cost control and fee models are a concern as companies question their staffing agencies and technology partners’ lack the expertise in-house. For most companies, it remains unclear who owns total talent strategies. The approach to contingent workers has been reactionary, with companies responding to immediate needs and ignoring long-term implications. As a result, the question, “Are we doing this right?” is becoming even more difficult.

Several trends are influencing total talent this year:

  • Thirty-four percent (34%) of companies are shifting their technology for contingent workers this year. Companies are looking at other options for technology to manage contingent workers better.
  • One in two companies doesn’t know what they spend on contingent workers. Companies lack visibility into contingent workers. Spend is a significant challenge for companies as they increase investment.
  • One in four companies states that technology is their biggest challenge in managing contingent workers. Companies are shifting their strategies and ownership from procurement to HR yet still rely on legacy and outdated systems to manage these workers.

The traditional technology market for contingent workforce management is not designed for talent acquisition or HR. The VMS remains the bread and butter of contingent workforce management, but only 29% of companies are satisfied with their existing provider. Fortunately, companies have better technology options, including talent marketplaces to connect workers with employers, total talent solutions, and extended workforce solutions. These providers are looking to disrupt the contingent model and offer better solutions and experiences. And most RPOs are doubling down on their total talent offerings this year.

Below are a few providers helping companies improve their approach to total talent and contingent workforce management (alphabetically).

Beamery: Beamery’s recent acquisition of Flux, an internal mobility platform, has strengthened its talent marketplace to support internal, external, and contingent/gig workers. It identifies skills and adjacent skills so contingent workers can learn and companies can upskill talent.

Eightfold: Eightfold Talent Flex is an AI-powered solution for HR and procurement to efficiently source and manage high-quality contingent workforces based on capabilities and potential. It helps companies find the best channels, reduce costs, and stay compliant.

GR8 People: GR8 People is one of the few CRM and ATS providers that can support total talent. It provides one platform and a simple and efficient experience for every type of talent. For this reason, it is the preferred partner for many of the leading RPOs.

HiredScore: HiredScore’s AI brings together talent acquisition and extended workforce to help companies find the best talent in a fair, supplier-neutral, and efficient way. It automatically routes talent to the best role, including rehires, so that companies can minimize the cost per vacancy.

Utmost: Utmost is a Workday partner and an extended workforce platform that supports the entire workforce and provides complete visibility into all workers — be it full-time, contractor, independent contractor, gig workers, freelancers, and more. It provides consistency in areas such as total talent, spend on workers, classification of workers and worker type, strategic workforce planning, total DEI impact on all workers, and risk mitigation.

Companies like Relode and Bounty Jobs also support total talent needs by offering a platform for contingent and direct hires.

As HR and talent leaders are responsible for total talent, this will be an important trend to follow. I am looking forward to seeing many of these providers at HR Tech!


  • Madeline Laurano

    Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency. Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today. In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).