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| 2 minutes read

What is the Extended Workforce? And why now?

As organisations increasingly begin to recognise the strategic advantage delivered by an ever-expanding workforce, incorporating contractors, consultancies, professional services etc rather than simply viewing them as a cost. Encapsulating this broader workforce under the term “Extended Workforce” feels more representative and a natural evolution of the contingent workforce reference.

The pandemic demonstrated an Extended Workforce is critical to an organisation’s ability to scale and flex in a rapidly changing environment. Industry research suggests that 58% of total workforce spend is on employees with 42% spent on the Extended Workforce, however by 2028 it is expected to reach 50%.

Leveraging the Extended Workforce to deliver agility and manage everchanging demands is only part of the story, it provides a route to engage highly skilled talent, address DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) objectives and drive greater innovation - all of which add to an organisation’s competitive advantage.


“Sometimes work is best done by Google employees. Other times, the work is best done by specialised companies that have particular expertise."

“In an era of specialisation, flexible working hours, global supply chains, and remote or project-based work, the extended workforce approach is becoming more widespread.”



Time for a more holistic and collaborative approach 

As organisation’s embrace this new workforce mix it requires a more holistic approach to talent acquisition and workforce planning strategies which necessitates far greater collaboration across teams particularly talent attraction and procurement.


“The right talent, in the right place, at the right time, is the equation for success in today’s world. In an era of technological change, demographic shifts and economic uncertainty, companies can enhance their ability to compete by building a flexible work model.” 

BCG & Harvard Business School (2020)


Over the next 10 years most leaders expect a growth in the worker engagement models utilised as part of an Extended Workforce. Unsurprisingly technology providers are creating and developing their product suite to support. It is no coincidence that Beeline and Fieldglass now go to market as Extended Workforce platforms, dropping the well-established, but perhaps now outdated, VMS reference.

Despite the recognition that change is happening many business leaders feel unsure how best to navigate their organisation and are left in a period of inertia. The answer may lie in leveraging the Talent Acquisition expertise and technology insight of an experienced partner to compliment internal teams and technology platforms.


“High performing procurement functions avoid body shopping or wholesale BPO outsourcing and focus on MSP hybrid models for select actives to augment internal capability”

Deloitte 2021 Global CPO Survey


Leading organisations are not simply merging previously siloed approaches to internal and external talent but creating a dexterous workforce approach built around the new norm.

The journey to realise the full value of Extended Workforce requires an investment of time to fully explore the underlying drivers of value, develop a clear roadmap and a well-articulated business case for change.

AMS is sponsoring this year's SIA CWS Summit Europe and hosting an interactive panel discussion on ‘Extended Workforce as a Strategic Skills Enabler?’ at 4:15-5:00pm GMT on 9 May. If you're attending the Summit, please come and join us. 


cws, services procurement, ams, direct sourcing, total talent, future of work