Improving contingent worker diversity: 5 top tips for employers
Arsenio Bell

3 minutes

Improving contingent worker diversity: 5 top tips for employers

In one of our recent blog posts we talked about the importance of making recruitment supply chains more diverse, equal and inclusive. But what about contingent worker diversity?

It’s common to hear of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives for permanent talent pools. However, historically this hasn’t been as commonplace for the flexible workforce. The conversation is changing now though, as the impact of the pandemic on the world of work begins to unfold.

The importance of worker diversity

DE&I has arguably never been so topical. Global movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo have brought inequality to the fore in our personal and professional lives. For HR and procurement teams, there are multiple challenges to overcome when driving the diversity agenda - particularly when looking at the flexible workforce.

Often, contingent workers are chosen to fill specific skills gaps, or the specifications of a role dictate certain criteria that are not conducive to diversity. As a result, talent pools are themselves becoming limited in variety. While there will always be a need to source specific skills across contingent workforces, there is the argument that progressive employers will be looking at encouraging diversity in talent pools themselves, as well as auditing hiring and workforce management processes to ensure they are inclusive.

We’re already beginning to see this action implemented in some areas. In the US in particular, there are a number of initiatives to increase the representation of wider demographics in talent pools. Scholarship schemes for historically black colleges and universities is one such example. But more action is needed on this front.

So how can we improve contingent worker diversity?

Improving contingent worker diversity: 5 top tips


  1. Even small changes can make an impact: Tackling the DE&I agenda doesn’t necessarily require a complete overhaul of existing processes. In fact, quite often a small or simple change can have a significant impact. At Guidant Global, for example, we’ve recently layered ReciteMe’s assistive toolbar onto our candidate site so that those who are neurodiverse, visually impaired, speak English as a second language or are of old age aren’t excluded from roles we recruit for.
  2. Get talking: DE&I is something that needs to be talked about across a business in relation to both the permanent and non-employed workforce. Have the conversation internally with hiring managers, DE&I leaders and senior management teams. Bring in people from different backgrounds to help you look at any problems and challenges through a different lens.
  3. Measurement is key: While contingent worker diversity is difficult to measure and track, it is important to record any data you can. There are global nuances in what data you can request from individuals that you will need to be mindful of, but having access to any information can really help inform where there may be a need for change.
  4. Pick your partners: There are a wealth of tools and suppliers with solutions that can help improve diversity in the recruitment process. Choosing to work with one of these experts or invest in technology that can help drive contingent worker diversity is certainly worth considering. As a case in point, Guidant announced recently that it had partnered with Get-Optimal, a UK-based global technology company whose core product is job ad optimisation – to remove gender bias from job adverts, for example.
  5. Consider the role of your employer brand: There’s no doubt that a solid employer brand is considered a valuable tool in talent acquisition, but it’s also a critical part of the DE&I solution. Strengthening your position as a business that values contingent workforce diversity will only help build a culture of inclusion and, perhaps more importantly, support talent attraction efforts for flexible workers.

The Guidant INfluence Workforce Consortium

Contingent worker diversity – and equality and inclusion in general – is critically important to us at Guidant Global. In fact, we were pleased to have recently announced the launch of our new INfluence Workforce Consortium.

This new initiative brings together specialist partners to help employers take action and tackle the lack of diversity across contingent workforces. The founding members of this Consortium include The Mom Project, Primary Talent Partners and Pyramid Consulting.

Tackling diversity: it’s time to take action

While it’s fantastic to see the conversations around diversity, equality and inclusion becoming wide-spread, what’s really needed is action. We’re facing a period where unemployment levels have been exacerbated by the pandemic and this has the potential to have a detrimental impact on worker diversity and inclusion progress.

By taking small steps now, partnering with external experts and utilising innovative tools, we can really make a difference and increase worker diversity across the globe.

To find out how you can build a DE&I strategy for the 'new normal', download our guide here