The contingent labor landscape is constantly shifting. Staying ahead of these changes is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. Let’s dive into 10 workforce predictions to look out for in 2024, giving you insights to navigate the future of work with confidence.
As the workforce platform of choice for 350,000 users, Worksuite’s team of specialists wrote this list to help you stay ahead. Our goal is to arm you with knowledge to streamline and scale your global workforce, efficiently. And stay focused on your 2024 strategic goals — not administrative work.
10 Workforce Predictions for 2024
The Future is Freelance
Amid recession fears and other macroeconomic conditions, agencies and clients are moving away from long-term “agency of record” relationships and toward more project-based and retainer-based arrangements. Procurement and Finance teams are streamlining costs, leading to employee layoffs. In these challenging times, Marketing & Advertising are perceived as “expenses” rather than “investments.” The creative industry is shifting, moving from largely full-time employees to a contingent workforce model. This will require flexibility and scalability to navigate the challenges of this transition.
Flexible Work Contracts
We’re seeing a growing emphasis on flexible contracts and ongoing part-time engagements without a specific end date or detailed scope. This allows employers and talent to adapt to changing needs and priorities, fostering a more agile and fast-moving work environment.
There are several types of flexible freelance contracts you can build and pay out directly in Worksuite:
- Fixed Rate
- Statement of Work (SOW)
- Pay As You Go (PAYG)
- General Contract Framework (MSAs, ICAs)
Depending on the payment terms and working arrangement you have with your contractors, a flexible Contract Lifecycle Management system unlocks flexibility for both of you, and ensures compliance with the scope and budget.
DEI Among External Talent
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are increasingly important considerations for employers — not only with their internal full-time hires. The value of a diverse and inclusive freelancer network is becoming a key metric to track and improve as well. Companies actively seek to create opportunities for underrepresented groups and foster a culture of belonging and respect.
We’ve heard countless contingent workforce program managers tell us that one of the most important aspects to their job is getting diverse perspectives — and better quality work — by engaging global talent.
Worksuite’s Workforce Analytics dashboard, combined with automated Onboarding Workflows for talent to fill out their profile details, give you visibility like never before into the DEI makeup of your talent pool.
Global Contractor Payments
As businesses expand their reach across borders, the demand for hiring and paying talent in various countries is rising. This includes higher-risk geographies for paying contractors such as the Philippines, Hong Kong and Croatia, and areas with growing risk and global conflict, as in Israel and Ukraine. To facilitate seamless global payments, many companies are turning to contractor payment processing platforms like Worksuite.
Did you know? Worksuite Pay enables secure and efficient transactions in over 190 countries and 120 currencies.
Increased Budgets for Contingent Workforce Programs
Contrary to the misconception that outsourcing is solely driven by cost-cutting, companies recognize the value of investing in their contingent workforce programs. 2024 budgets may increase for contingent talent, and dedicated teams are being allocated to effectively manage and optimize the performance of contingent workers.
AI Assistance to Scale
The use of AI is growing among freelancers and resource managers as they leverage its power in their everyday work. However, ensuring quality control and maintaining a human touch in the work remains crucial. Striking a balance between leveraging AI technology and preserving the unique skills and creativity that human talent brings to the table is critical. That balance will be a major topic of discussion in the year ahead.
Soft skills like critical thinking, creativity and discernment will become more important than ever. Meanwhile, AI will help automate away some of the soul-sucking administrative tasks.
Mental Health as a Priority
Burnout is a growing concern for both external and internal workforces alike. Recognizing the impact of mental health on overall well-being and productivity, many enterprises are taking proactive steps to address this issue. Companies are starting to offer mental health perks and implementing strategies to support employee well-being, even for non-employees and independent contractors.
The lines are blurring between how we treat internal and external talent, and the debate will continue about whether companies should treat everyone the same. Classification concerns aside, we’ll likely see more freelancer-friendly companies offering perks like Headspace or Calm meditation accounts, or wellness stipends to use for gym memberships, classes and more.
The Rise of Digital Nomads
The concept of being a digital nomad, considered a pipe dream even 15 years ago, is now a reality for many workers. Remote freelancers who handle content writing, digital marketing, video editing, translation, or customer support can hop from country to country every few months, while still getting their work done — as long as they have a laptop and Wi-Fi connection. Some countries, like Portugal, Greece, and Costa Rica, have even introduced digital nomad visa programs to attract this growing workforce. However, employers must consider compliance implications of local labor laws and regulations in the countries where their talent is based. Each nation has its nuances.
With the benefits of cost savings and increased flexibility, many companies are transitioning into “remote-first” organizations. By eliminating or consolidating the overhead associated with a physical office, these WFH companies can hire and engage their entire workforce remotely. Not to mention, they don’t need to budget for only NYC and San Francisco salaries! This shift requires the right tools and frameworks for communication, collaboration, and culture to ensure the success of the remote-first model. That said, the trend is not going anywhere.
While many large enterprises are indeed rolling out return to office (RTO) policies in 2024, the resounding consensus among talent is that “5 days a week in the office is dead.” 16% of companies worldwide are fully remote, and this number is likely to increase.
Independent Contractor Classification Even More Critical
Compliance risk is a concern when engaging a large contingent workforce. Sometimes, companies mistakenly classify someone as an “independent contractor” when they should technically be entitled to the benefits of “employment.” U.S. labor laws are becoming more specific, with a new proposed Six-Factor “Economic Realities” Test to determine worker status on the horizon.
Companies must be mindful of local laws, as each country (and even each U.S. state) has its own nuances. Misclassifying employees as independent contractors can risk fines, jail time, or being banned from talent acquisition in that country. Ensure compliance in 2024 by covering all your bases!
Whether you manage a large freelance workforce already and need a central hub for talent communication and payments; or you plan to scale your contingent talent network globally, and you need a compliant, flexible system to help; Worksuite is here to make this journey incredibly easy for you. So, let’s look ahead and prepare for what’s next.
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