The rise of contingent workers in APAC: Thriving in a dynamic workforce landscape

The rise of contingent workers in APAC: Thriving in a dynamic workforce landscape

With so many organisations looking at hiring contingent workers for day-to-day work, it’s evident the contingent workforce has its merits. With the increased demand for contract labour in Asia-Pacific, the regional staffing platform market is estimated to skyrocket from $34 million in 2022 to $84 million by 2028. The APAC region has become an innovation hotbed, with digital transformation driving changes across industries.

Rishi Agrawal Thought Leader Headshot

Rishi Agrawal – Sr. Programme Manager EMEA/APAC

Why are more companies turning to contingent workers to fill talent gaps?

There is an increasing trend towards platform-based work, further fueling a start-up culture that requires a flexible workforce to scale quickly in competitive markets. Likewise, workers are seeking more agile ways of working that fit their preferences, be it remote work, part-time positions, or project engagements. As a result, contingent hiring is a go-to option for employers wanting to remain competitive.

In this blog post, I explore how organisations from various sectors in APAC can benefit from leveraging contingent recruitment. By harnessing this power, companies can tap into top talent globally while avoiding long-term commitments.

Digital transformation

APAC has experienced a significant digital transformation across industries. By 2025, the digital economy in this region is projected to reach an impressive $330 billion, with a year-on-year growth rate of 20%. Companies are adopting new technologies and digital platforms, often requiring specialised skills or short-term expertise. With their flexibility and niche skill sets, contingent workers can provide the necessary support during these digital transitions.

Start-up culture and entrepreneurship

The APAC region has seen a rise in start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures. Research by Bain & Company suggests that the number of unicorns in the region – privately held start-ups with a value of $1 billion or more –  has risen 61% since 2021, bringing the total to 277. These organisations often rely on contingent workers to manage costs, access specific expertise, and remain agile. Contract workers offer start-ups the flexibility to scale their operations without committing to long employment contracts.

Gig economy and platform-based work

The gig economy has gained momentum in APAC, with various online platforms facilitating freelance and gig work. This shift towards platform-based work has increased the prevalence of contingent workers in the region.

Changing work preferences

Both employers and workers in APAC are embracing new work preferences. Many seek flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, part-time roles, or ad hoc project-based assignments. Employers recognise the advantages of leveraging the contingent workforce to address these changing demands while optimising costs and maintaining workforce agility.

Labour market dynamics

APAC has a diverse labour market, with varying regulations and cultural factors across countries. In some countries, the rules surrounding contingent work are more lenient, providing businesses with greater flexibility in engaging workers. Pontoon offers expert solutions to establish a successful Managed Service Programme (MSP) and navigate these unique market dynamics.

Skill shortages and talent scarcity

Specific industries and sectors in APAC face skill shortages and talent scarcity. Contingent workers can bridge this gap by offering specialised skills or filling temporary roles until permanent talent is secured. This reliance on contingent workers helps organisations address immediate skill needs and maintain business continuity.

As businesses evolve and adapt to changing market dynamics, the contingent workforce is expected to become even more significant in the region’s employment picture. Contact us today to learn how we can help your organisation stay competitive in a dynamic workforce landscape.

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