What are contigent workers

New Zealand’s contingent workforce

In today's rapidly changing business landscape, New Zealand companies are always looking at multiple ways to stay ahead of the curve. One strategy that has gained significant traction in recent years is the use of contingent workers. Discover the benefits of hiring contingent workers and examples of how they can be utilised in your organisation.

What are contingent workers?

Contingent workers are individuals who are hired on a temporary or contract basis to perform specific tasks or projects. Typically, independent contractors or freelancers are classified as a contingent worker. They are not permanent employees. They generally work on a short-term basis and their employment is often tied to a specific project or contract. 

The benefits of hiring contingent workers

Hiring a contingent worker can bring numerous benefits to your organisation, including:

  • Flexibility: Contingent workers can be hired on a temporary basis to fill gaps in your regular workforce, providing flexibility and adaptability in response to changing business needs.

  • Specialised skills: Contingent workers often possess niche skills and expertise, allowing you to tap into a talent pool that may not be available among your regular employees.

  • Cost savings: Contingent workers are not entitled to the same employee benefits as permanent staff, resulting in significant cost savings for the organisation.

  • Increased productivity: Contingent workers are often highly motivated and productive, as they are focused on delivering specific outcomes and projects.


Examples of contingent workers

Many New Zealand organisations depend on contingent workers as part of their workforce strategy. The most common examples include:

  • Freelancers: Freelancers are independent workers who provide specific services on a project-by-project basis.

  • Consultants: Consultants are often hired to provide expert advice and guidance on specific projects.

  • Temporary workers: Temporary workers are hired on a short-term basis to cover gaps in your regular workforce.


Popular industries in NZ for contingent workers 

Common sectors that hire contingent workers include:
  • Software developers and engineers are frequently hired to work on specific projects or to provide expertise in specific coding languages.

  • Copywriters are in-demand for short-term projects like company rebrands, advertising campaigns and website development. 

  • IT consultants are often engaged to advise on technology strategy, system implementations, or cybersecurity measures.


Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals in New Zealand engage in locum work for a variety of reasons:

  • To address staffing shortages in hospitals or clinics.

  • Filling gaps in rural areas where full time workers are limited in the local labour force. 

  • Gaining experience across a variety of departments and demographics as part of their training program.

Hospitality and retail

Seasonal workers are recruited for busy periods to assist with increased customer traffic, for example:

  • Sales associates are required in anticipation for busy holiday periods like Christmas.

  • Catering staff are available on-demand to assist with serving guests and preparing for events.

  • Hotel and resort staff are employed during the summer months to assist with peak season tourism.

Construction workers
  • Specialised skills are often required by construction companies to assist with specific tasks, for example crane operators and welders.  

  • Carpenters and electricians are often hired for maintenance, repair or renovation projects. 

  • Emergency rebuilding efforts require contractors to help restore infrastructure in communities impacted by natural disasters or accidents.  


What's the difference between contingent workers and permanent employees?

Contingent workers are required on a temporary or project basis and typically lack the benefits of traditional employees who are part of the company's core workforce.

Key differences include:

  • Time: Contingent workers are hired for a limited period, usually to complete a specific project or fill a gap where full time employees are unavailable. 

  • Job security: Contingent workers are hired on a temporary or contract basis and do not have the same job security as traditional employees.

  • Benefits: Contingent workers are not entitled to the same benefits as permanent employees, such as health insurance, paid time off and redundancy pay. 

  • Tax: Unlike traditional employees, contingent workers are responsible for their own taxes and are not paid through the company's payroll. 

Streamlining payroll for contingent workers

It's important to pay contingent workers responsibly and have a streamlined process in place. To ensure timely and accurate payment, consider partnering with a staffing agency that specialises in managing contingent worker compensation. This can help alleviate the administrative burden and ensure that contingent workers are paid correctly and on time. By outsourcing payroll management, you can focus on what matters most - delivering results and driving business growth.

Additionally, having a clear understanding of the pay rates and terms for contingent workers can help avoid any confusion or disputes. Remember, paying contingent workers efficiently and effectively is crucial for maintaining a positive and productive working relationship.

Tips for NZ contingent workforce best practices

A contingent worker can provide flexible and cost-effective solutions to meet your organisation's changing business needs. By understanding what contingent workers are, the benefits of hiring them, and how to execute a contingent workforce strategy effectively, you can unlock the full potential of this talent pool and stay ahead of the competition.

To ensure successful execution of a contingent workforce strategy, consider the following best practices:

  • Job description: Ensure that the scope of work is clearly defined and communicated to contingent workers.

  • Outsourcing: Partner with a staffing agency for recruitment process outsourcing to alleviate administrative and onboarding responsibilities. 

  • Equipment and training: Ensure that contingent workers have access to necessary equipment and training to perform their duties effectively.

  • Management: Ensure that contingent workers are managed effectively, with clear communication and performance expectations.

By leveraging contingent workers, you can access a flexible and specialised pool of talent, while also reducing costs and increasing productivity. Don't miss out on this opportunity to transform your workforce and stay ahead of the competition.

Explore more insights from our experts or contact Hays directly to learn more about how we can help you execute a successful contingent workforce strategy.