The world of work is changing fast. And, it’s changing dramatically. Whether you call them freelancers, contingent workers, independent contractors, or temporary workers, members of this emerging on-demand workforce are having a huge impact. And, they are an appreciating asset to the companies for which they work.
It could be said that we are entering the era of the Workforce Revolution. It’s a revolution wherein the worker has taken charge of how, when, and where they work. And, to keep up with this swelling on-demand workforce, we are seeing the rise of flexible staffing services.
The rise of the on-demand workforce
It’s an understatement to say that the on-demand workforce is growing. In 2010, it was predicted that as much as 40 percent of the U.S. workforce would be a part of the on-demand labor pool by 2020. We are on track to meet that prediction.This cohort, about 41 million strong, now represents about 31% of the U.S. workforce. And they are distributed across every demographic, age, gender, skill, and income group.
To be clear, when we speak of the on-demand workforce we are not describing a workforce full of low-paid, unskilled workers. The Harvard Business Review reported that companies are engaging roughly 6.4 million independent contractors, freelancers, and other types of contingent workers who are highly-skilled professionals. And, one out of five of the professionals working full time as independents is earning more than $100,000 annually.
Moreover, those who are satisfied with being an on-demand worker are also happier than they’ve ever been. A recent survey conducted by MBO Partners found that 77 percent of all independent workers are happier working on their own. And, 64% believe that independent work is better for their health. It seems that data collected by MBO partners over the past seven years shows a trend, with independent workers citing a desire for flexibility, work/life balance, and the ability to work on passion projects or for clients they choose as key factors in their decision to become independent.
With the rise of the on-demand workforce comes the inevitable rise of flexible staffing services.
The rise of flexible staffing services
If you’ve ever heard of online talent marketplaces such as WorkMarket, Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr, you know what a flexible staffing service is. Essentially, it is an online platform that connects individuals and businesses with specialized, on-demand workers. These platforms, and others, help companies find, interact with, hire, and pay on-demand workers.
And, these platforms aren’t small at all. In a recent report, Upwork estimated that they have 9.7 million registered freelancers. In fact, McKinsey Global Institute’s Connecting Talent With Opportunity in the Digital Age study forecasts that the growing use of online talent platforms could add $2.7 trillion, or 2 percent, to the global gross domestic product and increase employment by 72 million full-time-equivalent positions by 2025.
Now that’s a global workforce revolution!
A 2016 survey conducted by Workmarket of more than 1,000 businesses found that 88 percent of those surveyed were using an on-demand workforce. And, 46 percent said they had been using on-demand talent for more than a year.
Moreover, according to Deloitte Consulting’s Global Human Capital Trends 2017 study, 66 percent of corporate HR respondents said their need for contingent workers will grow significantly in the next 3 to 5 years. This means that flexible staffing services will also be growing to keep up with the demand.
So, why are businesses turning more and more to flexible staffing services? There are several reasons. Hiring on-demand workers is beneficial when it comes to cutting costs. Because on-demand workers aren’t full-time or salaried employees, they are off-balance-sheet workers. And, companies save money by not needing to pay for related overhead and employee benefits.
One of the biggest reasons companies are hiring on-demand workers is that this workforce is highly scalable. It’s not always easy to forecast demand for workers. Larger companies experience highs and lows when it comes to workload. Also, small companies may need to momentarily expand their capacity. They can both turn to flexible staffing services to immediately meet their needs without having to go through expensive and time-consuming recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes.
Going forward, blended and constantly shifting teams of external and internal talent will be the norm. This will be the result of companies connecting with skilled workers to help them become more innovative and better-equipped to react more quickly to changing markets and stay competitive.
Small startups and massive enterprises have embraced flexible staffing services. Should your business consider embracing them too?