The Percentage of Contingent Workers Needing Computers Rose 14% in One Year


Flexible or contingent workforces (those that include contractors, freelancers and/​or temporary workers) are on the rise and here to stay. According to the 2018 Emerging Workforce Study commissioned by Spherion Staffing Services, companies surveyed report that the average percentage of contingent workers in their workforces has increased from 15% in 2017 to 29% in 2018. In fact, 41% of employees say they will only work for a company that offers agile employment opportunities.

Understanding what drives employment decisions is especially important, given rising rates of job mobility: Almost a quarter of employees (23%) surveyed by Spherion say they will likely look for a new job in the next three months and 33% say they will likely look for a new job in the next 12 months.

"In the current job market, with the unemployment rate the lowest the U.S. has seen in nearly two decades, finding the right mix of talent, and then retaining that talent, is crucial for a company'," said Spherion Division President Sandy Mazur. "What employees are looking for and what employers need from their employees continue to evolve in the age of increased digitization and cultural and generational shifts. We have conducted the Emerging Workforce Study for more than 20 years to help companies stay ahead of these trends."

Companies see many benefits of a contingent workforce, such as the ability to remain nimble during economic ups and downs (85%), the ability to protect their full-​time workforce (79%) and a higher-​quality workforce (72%). Top challenges relating to an agile workforce include the complexity of managing a contingent workforce (44%). For example, 51% of companies struggle to find ways to engage contingent workers because compliance and regulatory requirements hinder companies from effectively integrating these workers.

Contingent workers often rely on their own equipment, so they fall into the 19.9% of U.S. adults who qualify as Computer Shoppers. Computers aren't the only potentially work-​related purchase Computer Shoppers plan to make this year. According to AudienceSCAN, 18.4% plan to pay for high-​speed internet services for their homes and 17.1% will purchase office equipment, furniture or supplies within the next year. Nearly 39% would like to buy a new or upgraded smartphone within that same amount of time and 17% would like to purchase an iPad or Android touchscreen tablet.

Employers and employees largely agree on the benefits of an agile workforce. However, the Emerging Workforce Study found several areas where the two groups were less aligned, such as salary satisfaction and retention drivers. The study also uncovered data on several other key workplace trends. Among the findings:

  • Workers are looking for new jobs. Soon!: The number of employees looking to leave their current jobs is even higher among millennials, with 48% saying they will likely look for a new job in the next three months and 56% in the next 12 months. The top reasons for moving on for all generations are unhappiness with their current salaries, growth opportunities and office culture. Overall, workers don't feel that their employers are putting in the effort to retain them, with 20% saying their employers are making less effort.

When Computer Shoppers are searching for something, be it a job or new work equipment/​supplies, 90.9% use Google, according to AudienceSCAN. However, this group is 20% less likely than other adults to venture past the first page of results, so SEO is important to companies targeting this consumer group. 

  • Salary satisfaction is an area of major disconnect: The study shows that 40% of employees are not happy with their current salary, and 83% believe they should be paid more in today's market. Meanwhile, 61% of employers believe their employees are happy with their current salaries. Also, 68% of employers say they know they have to increase wages in order to compete for talent but are financially unable to do so at this time.
  • Recruitment efforts must evolve: When looking for new jobs, employees consider the following: the experience they have during the hiring process (86%), the number of programs/​benefits a company offers to help maintain work-​life balance (85%) and connection with a company's culture and values (78%). In addition, 65% say that a company's online reputation is equally important as the offer in determining whether they will accept a job. While work-​life balance ranks high on the list, only 45% of employees are very or extremely satisfied with their ability to maintain work-​life balance.
  • Diversity is still a goal versus a reality for most companies: Less than half (49%) of companies and employees (45%) describe their workforce as extremely or very diverse. In addition, equal pay continues to be problematic with 63% of male employees saying they believe employees at their company earn equal pay for a job, regardless of gender, versus only 49% of female employees who share that perception of equality.

Computer Shoppers can be advertised to through a number of digital media methods. According to AudienceSCAN, 51.9% took action after receiving an email ad last year and 47.7% took action after seeing an ad on a mobile smartphone app or receiving a text ad. Not only that, they're 53% more likely than other adults to find advertising on their mobile apps useful to them. TV is also an effective advertising medium to utilize since 68% of Computer Shoppers took action after seeing a TV commercial last year.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.