What is the Extended Workforce?

Flexible working arrangements have risen exponentially over the last few years. The freelance workforce is growing three times faster than the total workforce, and 50% of the global workforce is now expected to be working freelance by 2028.

For the most progressive companies, the realization that labour forces can be extended beyond permanent employees to a wider talent ecosystem (the extended workforce) has provided a smarter range of options with which to improve strategic/hiring decisions, address diversity and inclusivity within the workplace, and drive greater innovation and competitive advantages across the business.

As the contingent workforce, size scope, and strategic impact has expanded, new terminology that captures this evolution makes sense. “Extended” is yet another natural progression for this industry; contingent workers are sometimes thought of as mere line-items or “faceless” workers across the greater organization.

Calling this spectrum of non-employee talent the “extended workforce” reflects the symbiotic link between an enterprise and all of its workers and how that relationship enhances the very idea of how work gets done. 

Christopher J. Dwyer, The Extended Workforce Is A Piece Of The Total Talent Puzzle


Maximizing the potential of the extended workforce is now considered critical for achieving competitive capabilities - agility in the face of market volatility and shifting demands, as well as access to highly skilled talent.

This involves rethinking approaches to finding and using talent and embracing more flexible extended workforce models, where businesses can expand or contract their access to specialized, highly-skilled workers, whenever the need arises. For more on leveraging the power of the extended workforce, we've written a dedicated blog here:

Ranking the importance of the external workforce in meeting business goals

SAP Fieldglass: Contingent Workforce Highlights

There is a real awareness that the extended workforce can unlock new sources of value and avenues for growth for businesses today. Mixing every kind of talent, from full-time to project-based, from on-site to remote, delivers a more agile approach towards delivering on business initiatives.

Want to learn more? Our latest Management Insights Report, Understanding Talent Marketplaces, covers everything you need to know about the extended workforce and the changing world of work, and the best-fit solutions for managing these changes. Access the report here:

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