What's In a Name?

When it comes to contingent workers, a lot. Here’s why. One contingent worker might consider him- or herself an independent contractor, another a freelancer, still another a statement of work (SOW) consultant. Yes, all these names are part of the contingent workforce world. But here’s the twist:  the chosen verbiage is indicative of certain things, such as which industry the worker is in. A freelancer normally performs creative duties, an artist or a writer; a SOW consultant is normally a high-end IT specialist, a traveler a travel nurse or allied health professional. The list is long.

Every recession has a silver lining.  As we emerge (slowly) from this most recent one, one thing is clear — contingents are here to stay. Companies relied on these workers for flexibility to ramp up or down. Yes, it’s a huge bonus that these just in time workers are cheaper to hire but it’s more than that. The job gets done without increasing headcount. You don’t have to worry about training, morale, company culture or the ordeal of layoffs. Suppliers of contingents take on the all the responsibility of bringing these personnel on board.

And there is a variety of classifications to choose from: self-employed, contingent, independent contractor, temporary worker, free agent, freelancer, independent worker, consultant, SOW, travel nurses just to name a few. They are all contingents, yes, but each comes with its own specialized skills and nomenclature. So study their names and understand why you are asking for a particular type of contingent over another. It will prove to be worth your while.


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