Flexible talent comprises essentially workers who are hired by a company on a temporary, contract or freelance basis for projects. It is a trend that is likely to stay and grow in the coming years.
According to Flexing It’s Future of Work survey, there will be considerable growth in flexible talent (manager-level workers engaged on a project-by-project basis) over the next few years. One third of organizations will have half of their workforce as flexible talent (tripling today’s figures) and half of organizations will have more than 30 per cent of their workforce as flexible talent (doubling today’s figures). In the survey, 33 per cent of organizations and 36 per cent of independent consultants rated workforce flexibility as a key motivators for professionals over the next decade. This finding remained consistent across geographies, as 35 per cent Indian and 28 per cent international respondents rated workforce flexibility/work-life balance as the key motivator for professionals over the coming decade.
So what are the benefits of flexible talent?
Such non-traditional roles were earlier taken up mostly by women with the experience, network, skill and resilience to embrace a highly stimulating job while raising their children. However, it now also encompasses the millennial generation of workers who expect organizations to embrace and seek to embed flexible talent wherever possible.
As the use of flexible talent increases, so does the need for more efficient ways to find, hire and manage and integrate them into the company as full-time employees. Talent platforms that directly connect external talent with internal projects and teams are emerging as the leading method for accomplishing these tasks. Flexing It’s Future of Work survey found that with an increase in flexible talent, there will be a change in how organizations will source flexible talent. In the coming decade, the increase in the use of platforms will outpace large consulting companies and relationship networks as the source of flexible talent.
A McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report titled “A labor market that works: Connecting talent with opportunity in the digital age” found that by 2025, online talent platforms “could add $2.7 trillion (nearly 2 percent) to global GDP, and begin to ameliorate many of the persistent problems in the world’s labor markets.” The report also projected that by the same year, 10 percent of the global labour force, or 540 million people, could benefit in various ways from online talent platforms; and 200 million people who are inactive or employed part-time could work additional hours through freelance platforms.