Dealing with a Hiring Freeze? The Contingent Workforce offers a strategic solution.

June 19, 2014

It might be summer here in Canada, but many companies continue to freeze hiring to control costs either by department or region or across the company as a whole.

Those who follow our Argentus’ blog know we have commented frequently on the reasons companies do and should consider engaging specialty-skilled contingent/contract workers for their Supply Chain and Procurement staffing functions. We wanted to highlight the number one reason organisations are taking a good hard second look at utilising contingent staffing in this vertical as a real alternative to permanent placement and that’s the trickiest of all – hiring freezes.

As this article from Yahoo Finance earlier in the year describes, many companies this year have made executive-level decisions to freeze permanent hires. But business has to go on and individual departments have ongoing staffing needs.

Companies in CPG and Manufacturing particularly have approached Argentus over the last 18 months or so to explore a strategy which includes hiring contingent workers for their Procurement and Supply Chain as a way to deal with freeze situations. Most of these companies haven’t used a contingent staffing model for specialty-skilled positions in the past, so it’s been a process of working in concert with them to help build business cases and get buy-in from their global teams.

Here’s one specific example: Rosanna Palermo, one of our most seasoned recruiters and our in-house Contingent Workforce Management expert here at Argentus, was approached by a previous candidate whom she situated in a role as a Director, Indirect Procurement at a renowned manufacturing company with a Global presence. (As a side note, one fantastic thing about being a specialized recruiter is that candidates become clients and vise versa all the time and good relationships foster longevity. It’s gratifying to be able to follow great candidates through their careers, and have them come to us to consult with them and help them solve staffing challenges as they develop in their careers into more strategic positions)

“Basically,” says Rosanna. “The existing Supply Chain and Procurement team that [the client] had in place globally weren’t able to effectively handle the workload that was put in front of them. The group wasn’t performing as well as possible because they were stretched thin. The tricky thing was there was a hiring freeze. So we proposed this idea. My candidate, who had now become my client, pitched a contingent model to them based on information we had provided through our blogs and on-going discussions with us. He proposed the idea to the entire client Supply Chain team globally and asked us  to assist with the pitch.”

Ultimately, the client gained buy-in from his team and enlisted Argentus to find candidates for positions in Europe, Asia and North America. Through our referral network and some tenacious sourcing, we placed several 6-to-12 month contractors in Procurement roles: Category Managers, Procurement Specialists, and Strategic Sourcing Managers, all on our payroll thus mitigating risk for the client.

So what allowed this client to use Contingent staffing as a solution to move beyond a hiring freeze and get his team the help they needed?

“In this case, Human Resources didn’t have to get involved,” says Rosanna. “The ownership was on the manager in the department who owns the P&L to approve the contingent hires, and that’s where it ends. All liability lies with the third party provider. The contractors are on our payroll. As far as the client is concerned they get one invoice, once a month, one figure, for all Contingent staffing internationally. They don’t have to be concerned with paying anything beyond one invoice once a month for the entire contingent model. And if anything changes at any time, they’re able to make those changes quickly and seemlessly.”

Ultimately, the client was able to leverage contingent staffing’s lower on boarding and payroll costs, speed to hire, and flexibility to help his team come through a tough period.” And, our contractors are still actively engaged, happy for the opportunity to work with a globally-renowned company. So if you’re working with a company that has instituted a hiring freeze, it’s worth chatting with an Argentus consultant about the possibilities Contingent staffing can bring to the Supply Chain and Procurement business vertical. Get in touch today!

Over and out






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