The rise of the highly-skilled, contingent workforce is being driven by a complex combination of changing employer and worker attitudes and the rapid advancement of technology, led by developments in highly-advanced freelance management and marketplace platforms.
Below is a list of seven key benefits of the rise of the contingent workforce.
1. Complex work projects
Contingent workforces offer companies better solutions for common problems like how to execute complex projects, which often arise unexpectedly and may have a short time frame for execution. A recent survey by accounting and consultancy firm PWC revealed that problems finding employees with the right skills is still cited by global CEO’s as one of the top three threats to their business.
Subject to increasingly fast technological changes, the right talent can’t always be found from within the organisation. Therefore, the procurement and management of highly-skilled workers are becoming an increasingly important value-add strategy.
In fact, research cited by global consultants McKinsey & Co shows that high-performing workers are around eight times – or 400 per cent - more productive than average ones.
Freelance Management Systems (FMS) require intelligent matching capabilities, effective data-management practices, automated processes for compliance and governance matters and the ability to interact with different workplace management systems, all packaged up with a simple user interface to allow for easy direct sourcing at scale.
FMS also interact with Vendor Management Systems (VMS) and Human Capital Management Systems (HCM), to give hiring managers a greater opportunity to engage the best people across the talent continuum.
Advancements in FMS technology finally make it possible for companies to access the right talent at the right time and also means that talented people can make working for themselves work.
As more companies use technology to leverage the contingent workforce and attract skilled staff for complex projects, another value-add will present itself; increased innovation and collaboration via the cross-flow of ideas.
As the demand for highly-skilled freelance workers continues to grow, traditional hiring practices will change. Freelance management systems therefore offer a platform to bring different viewpoints into a business to help foster problem-solving.
Procuring skilled workers who are hyper-specialists in their given field also has the capacity to have a net positive impact on broader company culture.
4. Flexibility/Agile workforce
Modern workplaces increasingly have the tools at their disposal to remain agile in their staff procurement practices. Companies that apply those processes effectively will be better-placed to maintain a nimble business model and react quickly to changes in the market.
That flexibility could be an increasingly important competitive advantage, particularly in industries facing rapid disruption such as IT and telecommunications.
Companies that can shift their workforce in response to seasonal patterns or changes in demand could find an advantage over the competition.
5. Work/life balance with strong safety nets
Research from Morgan Stanley indicates that for advanced economies, the number of skilled workers in contingent roles is expected to climb to more than 50 per cent of the workforce within the next 10 years. And a key factor driving the shift is an increasing preference among skilled workers to accept a volume of short-to-medium term projects, rather than remain tied to a specific employer. They are willing to take the risk because technology enables them to pipeline work and conduct that work in a flexible way, consistent with their desired lifestyle.
A 2018 survey by Think Global Research showed that a better work/life balance was cited as the most commonly held aspiration among Australian workers.
The rapid shift towards freelance work is in itself a clear reflection of the benefits it offers; namely, the ability to do a range fulfilling high-level work without sacrificing remuneration levels.
6. Improved efficiencies for hiring managers
There are a number of efficiency gains that can be achieved on the hiring side by a procurement strategy that leverages the contingent workforce. Those efficiencies can be realised both in terms of sourcing the right talent and the technology necessary to complete the hiring process quickly.
By leveraging the benefits of freelance marketplace and management systems, companies will be able to quickly find and engage external workers, manage their workload and pay them quickly - all within a single interface and automated workflow where the freelance life cycle is managed in one place.
7. Boosting company profile
Attracting highly skilled staff for freelance roles who then have a positive experience can help improve a company’s standing and reputation among the people who matter, which in turn acts as a positive feedback loop for attracting top talent from the contingent workforce.
It, therefore, stands to reason that companies which understand how to find highly-skilled staff for specific jobs would translate into a tangible competitive advantage.