A contingent worker is finishing a task at his desk while working from home.

Contingent workers want in on workplace culture

Since the pandemic, gig workers have filled in staffing shortages. What happens when they want to leave, too?

Despite their status and degree of separation, contingent workers expect the same workplace integration that full-time employees would, a study by Flextrack suggests.

Company culture is becoming as much of a priority for contingent workers as pay has been. This is notable, researchers say because pay rate has traditionally been a primary factor in selecting gigs. Several factors ranked higher than “maximum compensation,” which came in at No. 8 in Flextrack’s survey. Among them are “meaningful work,” flexible scheduling, and diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments.

Contingent workers also emphasized the importance of benefits potential and of “company stability” — again, more than maximum compensation — when evaluating offers. In fact, 64% of respondents said company stability is either “very” or “extremely” important when considering new gigs.

Due to the Great Resignation, retention remains a constant concern for chief people officers and HR teams. Concurrently, gig workers — to fill the gaps left by rapid turnover — have also been top of mind. Staffing experts spoke to HR Dive about the groundswell of requests for contract workers, which is remarkably outpacing pre-pandemic demand. But what happens when the contingent workers have one foot out the door, too?

In April 2022, workforce management company PRO Unlimited confirmed via research report that retention among contingent workers may be in jeopardy, too. Data suggested that half of the contingent workers who end their assignments early do so within the first two months and 1 in 3 jump ship within the first month.

Offering cultural perks of the full-time worker caliber is undeniably a way to retain contingent workers — bonus points if the company has a great reputation. Not only do well-reputed companies reel in more applications but “workers are more likely to stay on assignment for the full duration of their contract or transition to full-time employment,” an April 2022 report by PRO Unlimited stated.

But HR managers should also consider that while pay rate isn’t always the main factor in taking on a gig, freelancers and independent contractors are also deeply concerned about financial stability. Per Flextrack’s report, the recession — or rather, the expectation of a coming recession — may prompt gig workers to weigh other options. More than half of contingent workers surveyed said they’d consider ending their assignment early if a full-time opportunity came up, and 45% of respondents also said they’d consider ending their assignment early because of economic concerns.

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Flextrack Newsroom