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What Are the Different Types of Contingent Workers?

Global Mobility
Independent Contractors
Industry Resources & Trends
CXC Global3 min read
CXC GlobalJune 01, 2023
CXC Global

Given the different types of contingent workers in the market today, knowing which one/s are right for your business requires a little research.

You see, different types of contingent workers are suited to different business requirements. Sometimes, you might need freelancers to cover busy seasonal periods. Other times, you might need professional contract workers with specialist skills. The differences are truly vast.

So, to help you make the right decisions on the best workers for the varying needs of your business, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’ve outlined the different types of contingent workers in Australia, and the typical business requirements that calls for their skills.

Temporary Workers

  • Typically engaged via a staffing agency
  • Most often work on-site
  • Calling can be for a few hours a week, to a few months a year
  • Good if you need specialist skills for a short period (eg project), or to meet seasonal demand
  • Great to plug short-term skills gaps without the burden of statutory costs
  • Not on the payroll


  • Highly specialised experts in their field, offering independent, professional advice and guidance
  • Typically, skills in complex or technical categories, not available (or required) from permanent, in-house talent
  • Unlike Temporary Workers, they work with a high level of independence given their specialist knowledge
  • Often engaged to investigate an identified business problem, provide strategic direction on the solution, but rarely deliver or execute on the strategy
  • Engaged either through a staffing agency or as independent contractors
  • Not on the payroll

Independent Contractors

  • Self-employed, usually as a sole-trader or with an ABN
  • Usually without representation from a staffing agency or consulting firm
  • Covers multiple worker types including:
    • Consultants: for example, in construction and IT
    • Freelancers: for example, in creative industries like film and music
    • Gig Workers: for example, ride sharing and food delivery services
  • When the business needs a specific service or skill set, but not permanently, regularly, or for a finite period
  • They hold responsibility for all government and statutory taxes
  • The ‘client’ (the company engaging the worker) defines deliverables and deadlines
  • The worker defines when and how the work is delivered
  • Not on the payroll

Different Types of Contingent Workers

Clients regularly report that the contingent workforce is increasingly being used for strategic reasons, such as supplementing internal talent capabilities as well as for operational reasons such as increasing the flexibility and responsiveness of the workforce…


Contingent Workers

  • An over-arching term used to define all categories of non-employee workers
  • Not employees, but work under temporary contracts
  • Role is typically to undertake a specific task or job
  • Highly suited to project work: where the business doesn’t need a full-time employee
  • Offers the business incredibly agility in their workforce capability
  • Not on the payroll

Fixed-Term Contract Employees

  • Engaged for a fixed period or task
  • Tenure limited, so different to permanent employees
  • Usually full-time or part-time employees
  • Generally entitled to same wages and statutory benefits as employees
  • May be under an award or other registered agreement

When it comes to developing the best workforce strategy for your business, different types of contingent workers offer a multitude of solutions. In these uncertain times, the question inevitably must be ‘when’ you engage contingent workers, not ‘if’. Knowing which type of worker suits your specific needs will mean you make accurate, commercially savvy talent decisions.

If you would like to discuss your organisation’s contingent workforce strategy, We’d be happy to have a conversation. You can reach us here.

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About CXC

At CXC, we want to help you grow your business with flexible, contingent talent. But we also understand that managing a contingent workforce can be complicated, costly and time-consuming. Through our MSP solution, we can help you to fulfil all of your contingent hiring needs, including temp employees, independent contractors and SOW workers. And if your needs change? No problem. Our flexible solution is designed to scale up and down to match our clients’ requirements.

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