DIVERSITY Is What The Contingent Labor Industry Needs In A Conference

In the first three parts of this series we took an “out with the old, in with the new” look at contingent labor conferences and then began our review of the Top 5 things the contingent labor industry needs in a conference by looking at the importance of Industry Alignment, Inclusion and the importance of Category Specific Spend Management Solutions. And now, #4…


Most supplier diversity strategies start with and focus on the contingent labor category. And for good reason – contingent labor is a deep spend pool with plenty of minority and women–owned supplier options across the entire category. However, diverse staffing suppliers are not the only diversity game in town. Did you know the majority of your certified diverse staffing suppliers also provide SOW-based work in the form of projects, deliverables and outsourced or managed services? But have you ever heard a contingent labor conference session or attended a conference workshop that addresses this topic seriously? Shouldn’t supplier diversity be a big and growing part of the modern contingent labor program?

A modern contingent labor industry conference – one that is truly aligned with and is all inclusive of the industry it supports – should recognize this opportunity and take meaningful steps to engage diversity related professionals across the Services spend spectrum. The conference value proposition should not speak to minority and women-owned businesses alone, but to the diversity champions, chief diversity officers and supplier diversity managers that are becoming increasingly important to the Fortune 500 HR, procurement and vendor management functions.

As our industry shifts and evolves, so should the pathway to expanded diversity strategies. Expansion into new spend types to meet tier 1 and tier 2 diversity spend targets should be a key focus. VMS and MSP providers are well positioned to support these initiatives, but need their customers to  demand it.

At VMSA Live Florida in February, not only will Nina Vaca from Pinnacle Group be providing our keynote address, we have incorporated an entire Diversity Program into our agenda to explore and espouse the mounting value of diversity in our industry and the strategies for achieving those objectives.

Diversity in your supply base is important for many reasons, not the least of which is diversity of thought and diversity of solution set. [Does anybody remember Enron?] As a former supplier diversity champion and professional services category manager for a Fortune 100 company, I know the far-reaching impact of a strong and well-managed diversity program that extends beyond the traditional boundaries. That’s why I am super excited that Nina Vaca and the corporate diversity leaders supporting our Diversity Program have agreed to share their experiences and lead innovative discussions at VMSA Live in February.

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Michael MatherlyComment