Year-end temporary worker trends: An interview with Mark Coyle

This article was first published by Shortlist following an interview with Comensura's Managing Director in Australia, Mark Coyle. If you'd like to subscribe to their news updates click here.

"The average cost per contingent worker is coming down for organisations amid increasing engagements, an MSP specialist says.
Comensura's Managing Director, Mark Coyle says this effect could be due to a number of reasons, and one is simply that companies are achieving economies of scale by engaging more non-permanent workers.

Or, it could be that businesses have better captured their on-hire labour spend, and, "now they're starting to look at other pockets of workers, of casuals, workforce consultants, one-man PTY companies" who are being pulled into the scope of their MSP arrangements.

"Then there's statement of work people being paid in deliverables and outputs – they're being brought into the scope of our projects as well," says Coyle.

It's a natural evolution, he says, particularly as customers start to understand these pockets of spend in their business.

"They're starting to identify them, and say, 'right, we need to regulate this transaction and make sure this workforce is equally governed as we do with our temporary on-hire workforce'," he adds.

Savvier procurement and HR

A much broader sophistication in the MSP purchasing marketplace is evident, Coyle says.

"We now frequently talk to well-versed procurement category managers and HR leaders that know and understand the category of contingent labour in a much more intimate fashion than perhaps we've seen in previous years."

The business now has some mature and highly developed public sector customers "that arguably have some of the most sophisticated, outsourced, contingent workforce models we work with – and that's not just in Australia, but globally within our business", he adds.

Progressiveness is not necessarily sector-driven but more correlated to an organisation's internal factors, "or if they've reviewed these categories previously", says Coyle.

"Don't get me wrong, we still have conversations with siloed organisations, where HR and procurement operate very autonomously – and that happens as much in the private sector as it does in the public sector."

Managed services growth

Two major costs for organisations are people and property, so Coyle says looking at ways to manage both is a very appealing proposition for customers.
Comensura now manages six properties on behalf of customers as part of its broader contingent workforce management solution.

The properties are populated with temporary staff for an agreed period, with Comensura "acting as the landlord", and "we'll also be embarking on fit-outs and managing the performance of those workforces as well", Coyle says.

Over the past five years he says the company has averaged 85% annual revenue growth, and has grown from three to 46 managed service customers currently operating under vendor-neutral managed services models.

Consultancy, insurance, service and facilities management companies, along with government departments, are among the "eclectic mix of organisations that are showing interest" in Comensura's offerings.

The current market dynamic, produced by the countervailing forces of businesses and unions, "is pushing regulators at a pace they're not used to working at", says Coyle.

"It's a good space for us to operate in currently, because the market is figuring itself out," he notes, and intermediaries such as Comensura are poised to offer assurances customers are seeking around risk."

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