The workplace is definitely having a moment that changes the traditional view. The traditional 9 to 5 is fading away for millions of workers as the on-demand workforce has accelerated, largely driven by the global pandemic. However the desire for flexibility in work is here to stay and as is the demand for on-demand workforces.
According to a recent study, the projected number of U.S freelancers in 2027 rings in at 86.5 million people, making up 50.9 percent of the national workforce. In 2020, 50 percent of Gen Zers and 44 percent of millennials participated in the on-demand workforce. Additionally, freelancers contributed USD 1.2 trillion to the economy, a 22 percent increase over 2019.
There’s no doubt that the on-demand workforce is growing. But it’s also shifting how we view work. With work from home still dominating conversations for traditional employees, both workers and employers realize the benefits of remote and on-demand talent.
With digital recruitment platforms maturing, employers can use these tools to attract high-skilled on-demand talent, with early adopters gaining an edge in the highly competitive marketplace.
However, like all recruitment methods, employers don’t need to approach this new way of hiring through happenstance. Instead, they should rethink their practices and procedures, allowing them to strategically connect with top talent in the on-demand marketplace. Keep reading to learn more about rethinking your on-demand recruitment model to fit your transforming business needs.
Reshaping the Workforce
Before we jump into exploring ways to create (or re-create) your recruitment strategy, let’s explore how the workforce has reshaped itself just over the last few years, with the pandemic serving as a significant catalyst.
Even before the pandemic, companies were aware of the growing skills gap and the lack of qualified talent. However, these trends are showing no signs of slowing down. A 2020 McKinsey report found that between 30 to 40 percent of all workers in developed countries will need to upskill or change jobs completely by 2030.
And then add in digital transformation, such as increasing uses of automation and artificial intelligence. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, “technology will create at least 12 million more jobs than it destroys, a sign that in the long run, automation will be a net positive for society,” noting that employers must re-skill and upskill employees to meet these rapid changes. And according to Harvard Business Review, automation, for example, doesn’t just create or destroy jobs, it “transforms” them.
And with work boundaries being erased and new skills required, businesses now need to focus on talent management as mission-critical for talent professionals. So the question becomes: How are you planning to create robust talent management strategies for the growing on-demand workforce?
Creating a Recruitment Strategy for On-Demand Workers
With on-demand talent on the rise, companies have acknowledged the obvious benefits of such remote talent, such as access to larger specialized applicant pools and cost-savings on employment expenses, such as payroll taxes, benefits, and overhead.
It’s one thing to recognize it. It’s another to act on it – strategically.
For example, what strategies do you have in place to access hard-to-find talent or new capabilities as job requirements change? Which skills or projects can be done more efficiently remotely? How are you currently attracting a larger pool of skills?
Let’s look at four ways employers can strategically adapt to the rapidly changing on-demand workplace.
1. Redefining Your Employee Value Proposition
First, redefine your employee value proposition (EVP) in this new age of work. For example, Gartner notes that the “EVP for the post pandemic workforce must orient toward employees as people, not workers; provide an exceptional life, not work, experience; and focus on the feelings, not just the features that match employee needs.”
So, how can a more human-centric EVP integrate with an on-demand workforce? Let’s look at three ways as suggested by Harvard Business Review.
- Women in the workforce. Women’s participation in the workforce has continued to decline since 2000. From taking care of children to serving as a caregiver for a parent, in-law, or sick family member, traditional professional roads are often interrupted, stopped, or restarted depending on women’s life stage.
In 2019, 40 percent of all freelancers were female compared to 46 percent of the U.S. workforce overall. Freelancing offers women the opportunity to work on their own schedules while advancing their careers. Companies can benefit from highly-qualified women, adding significant value to their workplace.
- Aging workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2020 to 2030, the labor market is projected to shrink by 7.5 percent for workers between the ages of 16 to 24. However, “among people aged 75 years and older, the labor force is expected to grow by 96.5 percent over the next decade.”
One thing these seniors have? A lifetime of skills and experience that can highly benefit your organization. According to Harvard Business Review, digital talent platforms expect that “experienced workers with hard-to-find skills will flock to their fold,” while continuing to seek and maintain a “satisfying work/life balance.”
- Millennials and Gen Z. If you haven’t realized it already, we’re experiencing a changing of the guard in the workplace. As millennials enter managerial and leadership positions and as Gen Z continues to enter the workforce, “work” as we know it is becoming redefined.
In 2016, millennials became the largest cohort in the workplace, bringing with them their digital tech-savvy, their desire for purpose, their need for consistent feedback and collaboration, and their lack of fear for changing jobs. Additionally, their desire for doing work whenever and wherever they want (echoed by digitally native Gen Zers) makes them ideal candidates for on-demand (and in-demand) skills.
2. Redefining Your Corporate Culture
Once you decide upon your EVP, how will you reshape your culture to embrace this human-first, on-demand workplace? For example, are you focused on the outputs of your workers – on-site, hybrid, and remote – as opposed to input, such as how many hours are spent at the office? Are they achieving their deadlines, goals, and milestones?
Is remote work or project-based work encouraged, becoming part of the norm? Are permanent employees reassured that remote, on-demand workers aren’t taking their jobs but instead adding immense value to the team, thus giving permanent staff additional assurances of job security and confidence?
As many organizations may experience resistance to normalizing on-demand workers, communication and education are critical to ensure permanent employees how the company and the employees will benefit from highly-skilled on-demand workers, nipping insecurity, fears, and the unknown in the bud. Your culture can play a significant role in encouraging all employees and leaders to embrace on-demand workers.