What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

The term MSP quite often causes confusion. This is because the term itself is missing a crucial element — the word contingent. Essentially, an MSP manages all temporary worker recruitment for an organisation and is responsible for the management of the contingent workforce — from workforce planning to offboarding.

What are the benefits of an MSP?

1. Visibility

An effective MSP provides organisations complete visibility over their non-permanent workforce. From temporary workers to consultants, freelancers to contractors, an MSP not only helps to hire the best temporary talent for a business, but it also relieves a company’s HR and talent acquisition functions from the complex task of managing a contingent workforce.

2. Agility and cost savings

Because MSP providers are experts in their fields, they are able to find the right talent, at the right time, whether that be tomorrow or in six months time. This can make a business more agile, as well as saving it money. First generation MSPs can save a business up to 20% if a business hasn’t had much leverage of pricing in the past.

Discover how we helped Bristol City Council generate £5.5m in savings

3. Scalability

Many organisations need seasonal staff. Finding the numbers needed can make or break a busy Christmas period.  Hiring talent for a huge defence contract can change the outcomes of an entire nation. An MSP provides the scalability needed to ride the peaks and troughs of recruitment activity, meaning a business won’t find itself short-staffed or over-staffed at any single point. 

Discover how the UK partnership between Airbus and Guidant Global is taking a smarter approach to hiring contingent workers

4. Global reach and compliance

As companies expand globally, an MSP becomes ever more important, though only if the MSP provider is global itself. This is because employment laws are different in different markets. A global MSP will have extensive knowledge of tax, labour and legislation, and will make sure that a business’ internationalisation efforts are compliant, and will shield them from potential lawsuits.


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What should you expect to see as part of an MSP?

  • - Management of contingent labour
  • - Qualified pools of talented candidates
  • - A streamlined recruitment process
  • - Contract management
  • - Supplier management and selection
  • - Reporting and analysis
  • - Invoice management
  • - Regular KPI updates and business reviews

Still struggling with the jargon? Take a look at our terminology guide

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How is MSP different from RPO?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing is primarily used for permanent staff, whereas an MSP is a solution that manages a business’ contingent workforce. Businesses can utilise MSP & RPO at the same time.

Want to learn more about RPO? Click here

Should you use an MSP?

Talent is becoming increasingly difficult to find. The most critical skills are becoming more expensive than ever to hire. So it’s little surprise that in recent years business’ contingent workforce has been rapidly increasing across almost every sector — especially as businesses seek to become more flexible, responsive and agile. Today, non-employees make up 41.5% of the average modern workforce — contingent talent is more crucial than ever.

A MSP is the perfect for solution for such an economy. All businesses are going to have to become more agile to survive, and an effective MSP not only facilitates this, but it also manages and controls costs — saving business money, time and effort.

Still struggling to understand whether your business should use an MSP? Get in touch

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