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Flexible workforce: exploring flexi staffing and current trends

Source: istock

What is flexible staffing?

Flexi staffing within organizations represents a strategic approach to human resource management, involving the temporary engagement of personnel for predetermined durations or until the fulfillment of specific projects. This employment model offers a versatile solution to address fluctuating workload demands, seasonal peaks, or short-term assignments, without the long-term commitment associated with permanent hires.

Typically facilitated through staffing consultancy firms or specialized agents, flexi staffing allows organizations to access a diverse pool of talent with varying skill sets and expertise. These temporary employees, often referred to as contingent workers or contract employees, bring agility and adaptability to the workforce, enabling businesses to respond promptly to changing market dynamics and project requirements.

Formal contractual workers to double to 10 million by 2030”:  Indian Staffing Federation

: Indian staffing federation

  • The report meticulously examines critical employment parameters, celebrates demographic diversity, explores evolving employment preferences, and identifies opportunities for freshers, Women, and Low-skilled Workers. 

Source: Indian Staffing Federation

  • According to the Q124 Flexi Staffing Employment Growth report, the Indian staffing industry witnessed a robust year-on-year growth rate of 12.5% from July 2022 to June 2023, comparing Q1FY24 to Q1FY23. Notably, during April-June 2023 (Q1 FY 2024), there was a significant 5.6% surge in growth compared to the previous quarter, January-March 2023 (Q4 FY2023). This surge underscores a substantial demand for flexible (contract) workforce solutions, particularly in key sectors such as E-commerce, Logistics, Manufacturing, Healthcare, FMCG, Energy, Retail, and Banking.
  • 80% of the workforce employed with formal staffing companies show that they are satisfied with their employment situation YoY whereas ~63% workforce prefer to continue as flexi workers.
  • Lohit Bhatia, President of the Indian Staffing Federation, expressed optimism, emphasizing the growing trust in the flexible employment model. Bhatia highlighted the number of flexi or “formal contractual workers” in India, employed by staffing companies, is expected to reach 10 million by the end of 2030 from 5-5.5 million at present, as there is a huge demand for such workforce, the positive perception and reliability associated with this format of employment, providing social security, continuous employment opportunities, and upskilling for a significant number of workers. 
  • Pramod Pachisia, Vice President of ISF, pointed out a noteworthy shift in the age bracket of 25-30 years, indicating a 10% increase in the flexi workforce in recent years. This trend reflects a changing preference among the youth for flexible employment formats.
  • Suchita Dutta, Executive Director of ISF, emphasized the impressive diversity within the flexi workforce, with women consistently contributing to a 25% participation rate. Currently, there are 4.74 million flexi workers across India, with Tamil Nadu accounting for 0.44 million flexi workers, constituting 10% of the country’s total.²

Source: Indian Staffing Federation

Flexi posts for medical assistants being studied

Datuk Lukanisman Awang Sauni has disclosed that the Health Ministry’s proposal to establish flexible positions for trained medical assistants, allowing them to continue serving in their specialized areas, is under review by the Public Service Department (JPA). The Deputy Health Minister mentioned that Health Director-General Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan had conducted the necessary studies and outlined the details before presenting them to JPA last year.

Currently, the assignment of promoted medical assistants is contingent upon available vacancies. If vacancies are unavailable, they may be required to transfer to another facility or field with vacancies, posing a challenge to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Datuk Lukanisman Awang Sauni shared these remarks with reporters following his participation in the 13th Medical Assistants Day celebration.³

Benefits of flexi staffing

  1. Reduced cost: It lowers operational expenses by providing a cost-effective alternative to permanent hiring, as employers can avoid expenses like medical benefits, sick pay, pensions, and provident funds.
  1. Improved competitive position: Flexi staffing enables organizations to adapt more swiftly to market changes, enhancing their agility and competitiveness in dynamic industries.
  1. Supports growth and development: By facilitating access to a flexible workforce, organizations can scale their operations more efficiently, seize growth opportunities, and undertake projects without the long-term commitment of permanent hires.
  1. Cost-saving benefits: Employers can save money on various employee benefits, contributing to overall cost efficiency.
  1. Talent experimentation: Organizations can trial potential employees through flexi staffing arrangements before making long-term hiring decisions, reducing the risk of mismatches between candidates and roles.
  1. Access to specialists: Flexi staffing provides access to a diverse pool of specialized talent, allowing organizations to quickly onboard experts for specific projects or tasks without the need for extensive recruitment processes.
  1. Improvement in employee retention: Flexi staffing can enhance employee satisfaction by offering greater flexibility in work arrangements, contributing to improved retention rates and reducing turnover costs for organizations.


[1]   “Flexi Employment Social Impact Report 2023.” Indian Staffing Federation, Accessed 14 March 2024.