What is Contingent RPO?

Contingent RPO (now more commonly known as Direct sourcing) is a phrase that has been appearing a lot over the past few years, especially within HR and procurement circles. Though the name may at first seem confusing (RPO traditionally being the preserve of permanent workforce solutions), put simply, contingent RPO takes all the benefits of the best permanent RPO solutions (such as employer branding, EVP, technology implementation and direct sourcing teams) and implements them within a contingent MSP programme.

The origins of Contingent RPO

With the meteoric growth of the contingent labour market - even in the face of global economic prosperity - businesses are starting to understand that the rise in temporary talent is not just a reaction to the economic downturn post-2008. It is, in fact, a fundamental shift driven by businesses' need for greater agility and workers' desire for a more flexible way of working.


The contingent workforce is not only here to stay but is also likely to grow in the near future. Amid this backdrop, it's easy to see why businesses want to optimise how contingent talent is sourced and managed in order to drive better business efficiency and reduce the risk associated with their non-employee workforce.

Contingent workers (whether contractors, temps or gig workers) have raised expectations. The labour market is experiencing record-low unemployment, technical skill-sets are increasingly difficult to hire, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution is almost upon us. In response, ensuring that contingent talent feels valued and well managed is more crucial than ever - especially if businesses want to remain competitive.

How does Contingent RPO enhance a traditional MSP?

A Contingent RPO or Direct Sourcing solution is built strategically around a business’s unique contingent talent needs. Because of this, an organisation is able to form a strong partnership with its workforce solutions provider, enabling it to attract new talent and reorganise and engage existing talent pools (such as retirees, alumni and referrals) – improving time-to-hire and intensifying cost-savings.

In addition to its cost benefits, a Contingent RPO solution also allows businesses to build on their contingent employee value proposition (EVP), employer brand and end-to-end onboarding process. This drives better quality candidates who are more closely aligned to a business’s culture, aiding long-term retention of the best contingent talent – especially vital in a competitive talent market.

How is this done? With a contingent RPO solution, you get a direct sourcing team who are solely dedicated to finding contingent talent for your business. This gives you sole access to recruitment experts singularly committed to your business’s success.

Take a look at Guidant’s integrated approach to direct sourcing - Advanced Direct Sourcing - which activates your EVP and employer brand to attract, curate and engage exclusive talent communities to support repeatable hiring needs without the need for suppliers. Advanced Direct Sourcing drives cost savings whilst increasing talent quality.

Contingent RPO doesn’t have to completely replace a business’s use of traditional recruitment agencies, however. Some companies who utilise Contingent RPO within their business opt for a hybrid model. In this scenario, Contingent RPO is employed for specific segments within a business – often for high-level, hard-to-fill roles, or when candidates are needed at scale.

The benefits of Contingent RPO

  • A real and meaningful value proposition for contingent workers
  • A competitive advantage in a talent short market
  • A reduction in costs and over-reliance on agencies
  • An increase in the quality and fit of contingent talent
  • An improvement in efficiency and candidate experience
  • Opportunities for the easy redeployment of valuable workers

What Contingent RPO adopts from traditional RPO

  • Going to market using the brand name and identity
  • Technological implementation
  • Employer value proposition (EVP)
  • Recruitment marketing
  • The utilisation of known talent pools
  • End-to-end candidate experience

When and where is a Contingent RPO solution best employed?

Contingent RPO is best suited to high-demand skillsets, at significant scale. If you need a high number of contingent digital transformation specialists, for example, then a Contingent RPO makes a great deal of sense. At this end of the market, talented workers know they have alternatives, and a strong EVP, employer brand, recruitment marketing and onboarding process could be the difference between the best talent choosing your business, and your competitor who uses a traditional MSP approach.

Success stories of Contingent RPO

The benefits of Contingent RPO should now be apparent. But to understand how it works in reality, you need to see it working in real-world scenarios. To help you decide whether a Contingent RPO solution is right for your business, we’ve produced case studies to exemplify how successful Contingent RPO can be.

Click the tiles to see our latest case studies

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