The on-demand workforce (aka ‘gig economy’) isn’t a new phenomenon. Its roots stretch back to the early 1990s when large enterprises began to decrease the size of their workforces but discovered the need to hire contract (or contingent) workers for project and temporary assignments. Since the Great Recession ended in 2009, the number of on-demand workers has almost doubled in the U.S. – expanding to 17 percent of the workforce today, or 27 million people. And the surge to engage on-demand workers isn’t going to slow, in fact many growth models predict that 40 percent of the workforce will be contingent by 2020.
Changing Workforce Demographics
There are a number of factors driving this workforce transformation. One is the fact that organizations find it increasingly difficult to attract and hire talent; 36 percent of HR professionals report that it was harder to find talent in 2015 than the previous year. Companies also see the on-demand workforce as a more flexible, cost-effective alternative for tackling projects that require specific skill sets and experience.
Seasonal businesses, such as retailers, transportation companies, warehouses, and others know the value of on-demand workers very well. This winter holiday alone, more than 700,000 seasonal workers will be hired.
And while these largely blue-collar workers are a critical linchpin in the economic engine, the reality is that a majority of the on-demand workforce is comprised of high-skilled, white-collar workers. Think beyond simple temps or contractors to skill-specific workers and statement-of-work (SOW) providers tasked with different projects.
“We’re a fast-growth startup company that looks to augment our team with on-demand talent for specific projects and initiatives,” said Brad Rowland, the chief marketing officer at FSLogix. “These workers are at the top of their field, give us unbiased feedback and recommendations, and provide us with a skill reach that we simply couldn’t attain otherwise.”
These workers are a business-critical requirement to a vast number of companies today, compromising from 20 to 40 percent of a company’s total workforce depending on the industry and the types of skilled workers needed. To drive home the point further, 70 percent of executives in a recent Deloitte survey indicate the on-demand workforce is either “important” or “very important” to their businesses.
“Virtually any company that wants to compete in the 21st-century economy must augment their full-time employees with talent from an on-demand workforce,” said Paul McCarthy, the chief people officer at Handshake, a mobile sales and B2B eCommerce platform for manufacturers and distributors. “Finding the right on-demand candidates to deliver successful outcomes does require a different recruiting strategy and approach than what we use for regular full-time employees. Consideration needs to be given to find a great partner, with the best skills to deliver on what the company needs while adhering to project timelines and deliverables.”
7 Recommendations for Recruiting High-skilled On-demand Workers
So what are some of the things that companies can do to ensure they are successful when it comes to recruiting and managing the on-demand workforce?
- All-Encompassing Recruitment
Cover all of your bases. Finding the right workers – either full-time or on-demand – in this jobseeker-driven market isn’t easy. You need to leverage all of the sourcing channels at your disposal, which includes job boards, social networks, employee referrals, career website, among others.
“We typically rely on contract workers for quick or complex projects, both of which require specific skill sets that are difficult and time consuming to find,” said Tony DeLollis, the chief technology officer (CTO) at RO Innovation, the world’s leading customer reference management platform designed for sales enablement.
- Candidate Experience
Jobseekers want to work for great employer brands and expect great candidate experiences when they apply and interview for contingent jobs. Getting a one-stop platform in place that enables you to consolidate all of your candidate messaging and management plays an important role in the entire recruitment process, from applications to prescreening and interviewing, to hiring and onboarding.
In particular, companies that fail to deliver a positive candidate experience suffer. Possible consequences include a) candidates rejecting job offers, b) candidates sharing their subpar experiences with friends, family, and even their social networks, and c) candidates putting you on their “do-not-apply” list.
- Efficiency and Productivity
It takes valuable time to post your jobs to all of the different sourcing channels. Recruiters and hiring managers require a recruiting platform with one-click job posting. This literally can save hours in job-posting time per position.
- Targeted Posting
There are hundreds of job boards, and it isn’t easy to determine which ones are the best targets for your jobs. Complicating matters is the fact that there are a number of different types of job boards: generalist, niche, classified sites, and social networks. When you’re recruiting high-skilled and often hard-to-find workers, you may need third-party assistance to get the most out of your job postings and limited budgets.
- Worker Referrals
Studies show that referrals from full-time and on-demand workers often produce higher quality candidates than those sourced via other channels. These can be either direct referrals or social referrals (obtained when workers share job postings on their social networks). Candidate referrals are also typically less expensive because there are fewer steps in the hiring process, which translates to a shorter time to hire. To leverage the value of worker referrals, companies need to have the right systems and processes in place to allow employees to easily make referrals.
“Recruiting for this type of role is often done from our own networks, and ideal candidates are often former colleagues who provide the skills and services needed as an on-demand worker,” explains Handshake’s McCarthy.
- Self-Sourced Talent Pools
Self-sourced talent pools offer recruiters and hiring managers the means to build and manage a pool of workers that can be tapped for future job openings. Candidates are entered into a private tool in different categories: a) those who were considered for a job opening but another candidate was hired, b) applicants who were not qualified for the role to which they applied, c) non-job specific resume submissions on your career site, and d) those jobseekers who have subscribed to email alerts on future job openings.
“Maintaining a network of contingent workers that can be tapped quickly and easily for new projects is critical for ongoing success,” said RO Innovation’s DeLollis. “As a result, we maintain ongoing communications with these workers, even when they aren’t engaged with us on a project.”
- Candidate Management
Managing on-demand workers requires separate systems and processes from those used to managing full-time workers. Failing to treat on-demand workers appropriately can result in the U.S. Department of Labor deeming the workers as misclassified, a determination that can result in significant financial repercussions and penalties.
MightyRecruiter Can Help
When it comes to finding, attracting, and hiring great workers – whether they are full-time or on-demand – MightyRecruiter offers companies a one-stop solution for their recruiting challenges. Sign up for a free trial today to discover for yourself how other recruiters and hiring managers are finding better candidates faster than ever before.