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Aquent wants to bring better benefits to the freelance workforce

Aquent Square Deal helps companies attract and retain top talent.

By Amanda Schiavo

Aquent, a marketing and staffing firm, is launching a new service designed to bring better benefits to organizations' contingent workforce — meaning temporary or contract employees.

There were six million contingent workers in 2017, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While many employers provide extensive, high-quality benefits to their full-time employees, their contingent peers— who are performing the same tasks — have access to fewer or no benefits at all.

Aquent is looking to solve this issue with Square Deal. The platform, which launched in December, will allow employers to offer their extended workforce health insurance, 401(k), paid time off and even voluntary benefits like student loan repayment.

“We create those essential systems to manage employee benefits,” says John Chuang, CEO of Aquent. “In our extended workforce ecosystem we manage benefits customization, underwriting, technology systems, benefits administration, vendor management and legal and compliance issues.”

Many companies can have up to 50% of their workforce on contingency, Chuang says. When employers look to hire contingent employees, they typically do so through staffing firms. But these firms aren't equipped to offer contract workers high quality benefits or even any benefits at all. With the launch of Square Deal, Aquent works with Cigna to offer health insurance and Fidelity for retirement solutions.

“Companies today could really differentiate themselves in terms of attracting and retaining the best contractors by offering benefits,” Chuang says. “The first movers who offer their contractors benefits will be offering something unique in the marketplace and totally necessary and appreciated.”

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