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The Reimagining of HR through Big Data

The launch of LinkedIn’s university ranking is a great example on how to turn data into useful insights. LinkedIn states that they have analysed the career path of all their members and from this data drawn the list of best universities by sector. This is certainly more useful than the current approaches and guides as it is not linked to annual ratings and results, but longer-term impact in the real world. Big data drives another nail into the coffin of an established approach by providing a better solution. More will follow. Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Companies like WorkDigital, or indeed LinkedIn itself, can give transparency to the skill sets of your competition and therefore a powerful and numerically driven argument to the Board for investment. It can look at the emergence of skills to inform where to open a business; what training to provide to existing staff to attain required skills; or which programming language to choose so that there won’t be a skill shortage three years later (and with it the enormous contract fees).

eiTalent is using big data analysis for cultural matching that can be used to identify the right fit of the candidate and replaces pure gut feel. Obviously, to match the fit of a candidate’s values to that of a company, the actual brand values (instead of the stated ones) need to be identified as well. This will revolutionise employer brand building (or by that any brand building activity), as we can now truly measure employee engagement through analysing emails and link it to productivity and intent for action. Brand tracking research, as it is offered nowadays, will very soon be a thing of the past. As the employer brand is only a facet of the overall brand, it is easy to imagine how eiTalent’s approach can be rolled out to general brand building and measuring consumer engagement. As an aside, it would be utterly fascinating to measure this in regards to a nation brand.

Joberate analyses social media behaviour of employees to identify the potential flight risk. This enables HR departments to prioritise their interventions based on the real impact to the business – real time analysis instead of hunches, annual appraisals or resignation letters.

Research becomes actionable and can be provided on a much more regular and imminent basis. Appraisals and employee satisfaction surveys as we know them, salary benchmarking by looking through massive binders and categorisations and all similar research can now all be re-imagined and used for much better and imminent effect. It is so exciting and by combining the three approaches (market data, external and internal data sets) mentioned above, so imminently achievable.

It also gives the HR and talent acquisition departments the ability to deal with issues before they become problems. Less fire fighting, more culture and productivity enhancing. It gives HR and recruitment departments the analysis to make really powerful, data driven arguments, which can only help its cause. After all, with lean balance sheets becoming the standard in our digital world, people will be the biggest cost and the most valuable resource in a company. Big data can make analysis, engagement, management, recruitment and most effective deployment of these assets and resources much more impactful. Now, it truly is all about the people.

And as it is all about the people, it is crucial not only to use the data from a company’s perspective but also to share it with the employees. If they want to leave, make the data related to their activities and behaviours accessible to them, so it can help them make decisions on their next opportunity and aid them in achieving their goals.

Posted in Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media.

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Recruiting Overseas – Tailoring To The Local Market

German flagOn the face of it, job seeking and recruiting is the same in most developed countries. It follows the same tenets of relevance and speed. It has the same success criteria and it most often features the same complaints and wishes from candidates and recruiters.

Except clearly this isn’t true. Otherwise we couldn’t reel off all the companies and brands that went into our markets and failed horribly. They failed because either they were not aware of the differences in the business environment or they were not aware of the different cultural aspects. In most cases it was a combination of the two.

Let’s take Germany to illustrate the case and to highlight the difficulties companies (especially from an Anglo-Saxon background) face when entering the European powerhouse. Looking from the outside in, we see a strong economy, with nearly full employment and a talent shortage, combined with a recruitment market more akin to the one we experienced in the UK and US around 1998, with high recruitment advertising rates. So a market that seems ripe for disruption. The only issue seems to be the language. To overcome it, the website will be translated and a German-speaking customer services team installed in Dublin. Everything is set for success, correct? If only.

The German economy

There are only around 250 big corporates in Germany, the rest is made up of the Mittelstand (up to 500 employees). The Mittelstand are SMBs, mainly family-owned and often global market leaders. The owners of the companies think in terms of generations and dynasties and the companies are built on stable foundations. Innovation to increase productivity trumps innovation to cut costs.

In big companies, unions and workers’ representations are strong and are involved in all key decisions, especially when it affects workers. Their first instinct is to decline and slow down any change from the status quo. One example is their rejection of video interviewing for no apparent reason.

Most German HRDs either have a background in law as they need to negotiate with the unions and look after contracts or in psychology and education, as the focus in on employee wellbeing and development.

The German recruitment market

The German recruitment marketed is comparable to the UK’s around 1998. 3/4 of the ad spend is still earned by regional newspapers through branded ads (practically 4 colour ads). The German job seeker wants a lot of information before even applying to a role (see below regarding trust). He/She not only wants to have all the detail but also a feeling for the company behind the job. No wonder that German companies place much more emphasis on Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing than their counterparts in other countries.  The big corporations (like elsewhere) are quite advanced in their recruitment marketing, are deploying talent communities and are already well on their way to implementing the ‘new recruitment model’.

Most of the other companies (which as discussed above is the vast majority) turn to recruitment ad agencies to create the ads and the media schedule and manage the relationship to the media owner. The media owner pays the agency a revenue share and allows volume discount. Some of the agencies now also move into pre-selection. If a brand hasn’t been established and setting up an extensive field sales team isn’t on the cards, these ad agencies are the best route to market. Obviously, the commercial terms need to be attractive enough and hiring a business development person who actually knows the owners is essential.

Stepstone is the undisputed market leader for digital classifieds. For Monster, Germany is the second biggest country behind the USA. CPCs are not a novelty in Germany as most German job boards started with a CPC model and several, such as MeineStadt, still offer it. LinkedIn is mainly being used for recruiting foreign citizens. Xing is the predominant social network in Germany but active sourcing is not as well established as in other countries and is also often frowned upon by the candidates.

Indeed, growing massively in traffic is still in its beginnings as their business model does not support the revenue share of the agencies. This “arbitrage model” of the recruitment ad agencies is the key defining factor in the German recruitment landscape and slows adoption of other, lower yielding models.

Active sourcing and mobile recruiting are the hot topics at the moment, but so far no product or vendor has established itself, which given the German mindset and market dynamics isn’t a surprise.

The German mindset

Germans are conservative. They are more concerned about what they could lose instead of what they could gain. To move jobs or suppliers requires that all avenues (financial, emotional, etc.) are covered satisfactorily. As a consequence the sales cycle takes longer than in other countries and requires the creation of a trust basis. This trust basis is created via physical visits. Once a deal has been sealed, the supplier benefits from a lot of goodwill.

The conservatism is also expressed in concerns about data protection and privacy. Since the NSA affair, sending data into the USA has become even more frowned upon. If in doubt the German will not share his/her data. Once in employment, continuing to update a public profile is seen as career suicide.

This conservatism is also evident in companies, where financial controlling plays an important role and all costs need to be allocated against departments and tasks. It is expected that the supplier provides the information in the required detail.

A further example is the negativity and scepticism towards cloud computing. It is seen as insecure and internal IT departments fear it will minimise their influence. On-site solutions are certainly preferred.

Recommendations

Doing business in Germany requires commitment and investment. Without centralisation (Germany is better understood as 7 big regions instead of one country and has no clear commercial centre similar to London) and trust at the heart of interactions and decisions, companies will experience a long sales cycle yet require investment into the brand and into a field sales team.

Every country has its differences. Sometimes there are even differences within countries – compare the coastal regions of the USA versus the rest of the country (just read the fascinating book “The American Nations” by Colin Woodard).  Sometimes there are differences how a law is interpreted (and we haven’t even touched on this in the example of Germany): whilst the UK and Italy are bound by the same European data protection act, they have completely different interpretations, which have significant effects on businesses and shows that the EU actually isn’t as homogeneous as it might look from the outside. The important thing is to understand the fundamentals of one’s business and then adapt to the local differences by employing local knowledge.

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4 Steps to recruitment automation

For years there was a lot of talk in the recruitment industry about mobile, matching (of both skills and culture) and big data. Now we have not only moved from talking to doing, but to building useful and impactful products, that will lead us ever closer to recruitment automation. As an example, here are four companies that stand out from last week’s TruLondon:

PreHash

PreHashLogoPreHash describes themselves as “an online coding platform to help technical hiring managers attract more developers with real-world coding challenges”. In other words, developers are being asked to display their actual coding skills, so that the hiring manager can ascertain if they are up to the standard of problem solving and coding that is required for the job. So people get hired for their coding skills instead of their interviewing skills. Mind Candy (creator of Moshi Monsters) is apparently considering using one of PreHash’s coding challenges.

PreHash, with the feel of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), provides challenges that are being communicated via both their own and the client’s social media channels. The results are ranked not only against all the recipients for this company, but the market as a whole. Apparently, the challenges are taking on a viral nature with developers passing them on.

I really like the approach, as it assesses the actual skill levels instead of the interviewing skills and replaces the traditional job ad with a coding challenge. It takes away bias and discrimination. It allows the hiring manager to assess the candidate but also the candidate to assess the company. Are they really as good as they both say? It works both ways. Everybody gains, and only when both – the company and individual – receive something equally useful will a service and product be successful. It will be even more powerful when the hiring manager can review the actual code used by the developer and set time limits, only then a real assessment of quality and working under pressure can be made.

At the moment PreHash position themselves very much around acquiring new talent and helping build and communicate the employer brand. It would be better for PreHash to alter this and focus more on talent screening and build their argument on reduced time to hire and increased productivity (even though some companies already have their own tests to assess quality). Additionally, it will be a more challenging sale, because the actual buyer won’t be the recruiter, but the line manager/IT lead; participation from both is required to make this successful. Whilst both want the same outcome, they respond to different messages and have different needs and motivations. Clearly building the community will be crucial for this, as it will give PreHash credibility with the IT audience.

JobandTalent

JTlogoThere are several companies offering matching with no obvious distinction between them. Most of them focus on the recruiter’s needs. JobandTalent are different: they start with the jobseeker in mind. This is the best place to start. The job seeker provides JobandTalent with their resume and then receives jobs that match. This happens with ”the algorithm – which behaves like a virtual recruitment consultant – identifying and recognizing linguistic patterns within the structure and phrasing of both job adverts and CVs. These patterns are then converted into data points that match candidates with suitable job opportunities, even if they do not match a candidate’s or recruiter’s specification word for word.”  Everybody needs to test this for themselves. JobandTalent have certainly developed traction, not only because of the recent funding they received but also because of the uptake by job seekers and companies.

JobandTalent are what I would describe a second generation aggregator – combining the advantages of aggregation with a focus on matching candidates to relevant jobs via their own bespoke matching algorithm and putting mobile first (very nice app).

Herein also lies their challenge: The first generation aggregator business model of cost-per-click (cpc) is not sustainable when matching becomes very accurate, as it results in less clicks and therefore less revenue, unless cpc sky-rockets. It will be interesting to see how JobandTalent develop their business model and if a move to Cost per Acquisition/Application will really prove more successful, especially as integrations into the workflow of both recruiter and financial controlling might make the adoption actually more difficult.

Workdigital

WorkDigitalLogoIt shows that Bill Fischer and Howard Robinson have been working on big data solutions for several years now. Their products are multi-layered, well thought through and certainly benefit from having access to the vast and detailed data of Dice Holdings.

The one that caught my attention this time was the knowledge – or skillsgraph by company. By assessing the publicly available profiles of employees, Workdigital can provide a detailed breakdown of the skills of a company. This is a much faster way for a company to know and update their knowledge about the skill sets of their employees instead of tracking and updating it manually.

Additionally, it allows companies to compare their skill base against that of competitors and answer questions such as “Do we have the right skills and the right amount of people with the skills to realistically compete with the market leader?” The current skill base can be compared against development of skills in the wider workforce and plan the workforce development accordingly to compete in the future. It would also be a neat tool for any investor to assess if a company really has the skills they claim to have and assess any future plans against available resources. The question is how and to what extent it can be monetised beyond just spot purchases.

eiTalent

eiTalentlogoThis is by far the most exciting product I have seen since looking at TheSocialCV. eiTalent “identifies patterns that naturally occur in written communication, providing insight into the personality and culture fit of candidates.” They do this by identifying the core values of a candidate by analyzing their resume with their algorithm and comparing them against the core values of the company, therefore identifying candidates that fit the company culture and resulting in higher employee engagement.

It is fascinating stuff and applicable to so many different scenarios:

–          It could inform the interview process.

–          It could be used for brand building: Does the employer brand really match the core values of the employees? Is it therefore a real brand or fiction? How do departments differ?

–          It could be used to identify changes in employee engagement (via scanning electronic communication) and therefore positive measure could be put into place before a drop in employee engagement has a negative impact on productivity.

–          It could help individuals identify their own core values and show them jobs at companies with matching ones, therefore increasing satisfaction.

–          It could be used to change a company’s or department’s make up by injecting people with different yet desired and required core values for the future plans and success of the company.

–          It could be used to assess the core values needed to compete with companies in a different field.

These are only some of the applications within talent acquisition and planning; the parent company themselves is working on some other areas such as forensic analysis for law firms and it would be beneficial for marketers and brand builders around the world. So far, one very famous online retailer uses ieTalent, but everybody involved in employee engagement and employment brand building should have a look at it. It opens up completely different possibilities as well as accountability and performance measurement. The immediate challenges for ieTalent is to stay focused, build re-sales channels and support demand, the longer term one is how to use this for global brands with multiple cultures, locations and nationalities.

 

These four companies are great examples of the direction in which the industry is developing. They show that the whole conversation about automating recruitment isn’t so far fetched, especially when looking at them in combination. Having identified the skills his/her company lacks with Workdigital, the hiring manager uses a PreHash challenge on JobandTalent to understand the skill level and analyses the communication to understand the cultural match via eiTalent.  What is the role of a recruiter in this scenario?

It also shows that virtual teams will more and more dominate the world in which we are working and that work location and home location do not need to be the same. We can now recruit from anywhere, assessing the skills and the cultural fit and with enough tools in our hands and understanding of human performance to ensure that productivity and engagement increases when working remotely.

Whilst we now have working, useful and impactful products of mobile, matching and big data, there is one topic, often discussed and warmly embraced, that hasn’t produced any real offspring yet: The gamification of recruitment. I wonder why that is, or if we are soon going to see a first meaningful application.

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The Employment Brand – the glue for recruitment cohesion

The employment brand is the most important part of the new recruitment model. It is the glue for recruitment cohesion. It defines and amplifies values, mind-set, behavior and vision – acting therefore as an attractor, a (self-) selector of talent and a re-energizer for talent.

Before we go further into the subject matter, let’s however be very clear: an employment brand per se doesn’t exist as a stand-alone entity. A strong employment brand is clearly devised as a facet of the overall brand and therefore able to draw on the strength, resources and support.

This is a really important distinction. If an employment brand was separate, it would increase confusion and separation between the different brands. It would be only an attraction tool, it would have to create goodwill and impact from scratch, and it would not be related to the day to day experience of the people and therefore damage employee engagement.

Employee engagement, sometimes also called productivity, is the key metric for the successful creation, execution and adoption of the employment brand facet. If that wasn’t the case, then what is the point of employee engagement? Especially if we all agree that the people are the key ingredients of the brand and that a brand’s reputation is built from the inside out.

In a nation, the citizen is the most important entity and the strongest ambassador. The citizen defines the culture and is defined by heritage. The citizen has rights and responsibilities. The citizen pays taxes and votes, but most importantly, when citizens participate, societies and nations flourish.

It is the same for companies, so let’s treat employees (and customers) like citizens. We want employees to join the cause, to participate in our common goals, to share our vision, to be there voluntarily, to take their rights and responsibilities seriously. Every day is a campaign to be voted into office, every day we need to show vision, leadership and earn trust. When employees participate, companies flourish.

Once employee engagement is raging positively, one can forgo hierarchies and job titles (as Zappos does) and one can relinquish the (perceived) control over brand and communications. At this stage, the employees have bought into the vision and the way of doing things, are self-determinedly moving them forward and want to rely their positive experiences, their pride in working at the company.

Zappos hiring strategy makes sense in this regard, as it needs to ensure that only people with the right make up for the overall mix of the company enter the brand, so that the culture of trust and empowerment can continue.

Only with an employment brand and with employee engagement of this nature is it possible to communicate it via a clear and authentic content marketing strategy to convey the attractiveness of the brand as a workplace and to disseminate it using social connections of all employees and suppliers and therefore reaching most of the people a company wants to hire in the first place.

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Anarchy in the U.S.A.

NeilBCNHold on a second! What is happening in the USA? The beating heart of capitalism is turning into the second coming of Lenin and Marx. Well, not all of the USA, but certainly Silicon Valley and friends.

Zappos is eradicating all hierarchies and job titles, which is nothing more than anarchy – “the absence of government”.

AirBnb and Uber are turning the tables on haves and have-nots, challenging authority, hierarchy and power.

Predictive Analytics are shaping up to be workforce planning par excellence – every socialist country would have dreamed of having this to organise the masses, to forecast the missing skills and identify the youngsters with the rights aptitude to fill those gaps.

Can’t you just hear all the old anarchists, communists and socialists rejoice?

But you can most certainly see McCarthy turn in his grave, right? Why is Putin fretting about the demise of the Soviet Union and its ideals, when he can just sit back, relax and watch all the entrepreneurs and software developers in Silicon Valley doing his work for him, spreading socialism and anarchy around the globe and challenging political, judicial and economic power structures?

But let’s be clear. This isn’t the old days of the Soviet Union. The motivations are different. This time it’s actually human behaviour driving change. This time it is from the people and for the people. It’s – to quote Colin Ward – “the natural and spontaneous tendency of humans to associate together for their mutual benefit.” And that is the philosophical basis of anarchy. Hasta la Victoria siempre!

Photo courtesy of  Neil Morrison 

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The new recruitment model

dolls600x600Several sessions in last week’s iRecruit conference focused on a new recruitment model. This new model starts with the already existing individuals in a network and builds from there on out.

1. At the core stands a strong employment brand, clearly devised as a facet of the overall brand and therefore able to draw on the strength, resources and support of it.

2. It is communicated via a clear and authentic content marketing strategy, utilising video in the process, to convey the attractiveness of the brand as a workplace.

3. It is disseminated using social connections of all employees and suppliers, based on the belief that most brands are already connected to most of the people it wants to hire in the first place and therefore does not need to use job advertising anymore.

4. It has built-in data captured at all different touch points, not only from the recruitment but the entire consumer process to increase understanding, insights and drive personalisation.

5. It uses e-commerce models for repeat interactions, recommendations, relevance and reinforcements.

6. It chooses the channels of interactions the candidate wishes to be communicated with to achieve highest conversion through increased convenience.

7. It permanently trials new solutions and apps unrelated to recruitment to find talent and connect before the talent moves from passive to active and before anybody else gets to embrace it.

In short, the mainstream of HR is arriving at the point of ‘Total Access’ as described by Regis McKenna:

“A value of a brand can now be defined by the number of active participants in its network.”

The underlying approach is not new. It’s just a very good understanding of the three marketing maxims of segmentation of the market, targeting the desired audience and positioning the brand accordingly, combined with finally making the move from the 4Ps of marketing to the 4Cs in the execution of recruitment initiatives.

Product = Customer Solution

Price = Cost

Promotion = Communication

Place = Convenience

The new part of the approach is to build a seamless process and platform that links all the pieces outlined above together. Instead of talking about mobile, social and big data as separate entities, these have finally been recognised as smaller yet essential building blocks of an overall integrated solution. Instead of marvelling at GenY, they have now been accepted and are communicated with in their desired fashion.

The new model of recruiting also doesn’t use innovation for pure cost cutting, but innovation to enhance the performance of their recruiters and hiring managers and therefore understands that – at the moment – human interaction is a key component in the hiring and retention process.

But there are also challenges:

1.Several big companies seem to invest mainly into their company pages on LinkedIn. For them, LinkedIn has clearly usurped the career pages on their own website. They see great results. But: For the above approach to work, an open system is required, where new and different solutions can be plugged in and integrated. LinkedIn is not known for being an open system. Is it therefore wise to put all eggs in one basket and the basket being owned and controlled by somebody else?

2. The new approach of recruitment clearly works for big, well-known brands. But what about the small brands and companies? Could it be that some already use it successfully and we just haven’t heard about it, as they don’t get the same airtime as the big brands when sharing case studies?

But doesn’t that argument actually highlight the problem: big employment brands benefit from the resources and attractiveness of its overall brands. The small employers, however, have to work much harder for the same results and often don’t have the resources to build a proactive HR/recruiting/resourcing team. So is the job advertisement really dead? And how can small companies thrive in a world where more and more power seems to go to bigger brands?

3.The new approach of recruitment is clearly very focused on utilising the assets of the brands, be it the employees, the employees’ networks, the talent networks and talent pools, the email databases, you name it. But is it always really positive or are some using it for cost cutting? And who said that using employees networks on a mass scale is something employees really want? Do we just reinforce an elite? Is this a NeoCon approach to recruitment disguised in the cloak of the sharing economy? Laurie Ruettimann wrote a thought provoking blog post about it: “Is Zappos being fair to the American worker?

4. While it is great that mobile recruitment isn’t treated anymore as a standalone branch, it is still under represented in the solutions and approaches. Is this because it has become second nature or because we haven’t yet completely understood how to do mobile?

There are some encouraging signs nevertheless: Jerome Ternynck, CEO of SmartRecruiters, stated that they have a 20% visit to application rate on mobile and of those 60% are using LinkedIn profiles and 40% Facebook. This again highlights the needs to build an open system and integrate what users like to use most – the product becoming the customer solution and not just a flight of fancy for internal looking product managers.

5. Understanding the need of an open system, several providers are now moving away from building a one-stop shop towards building an ecosystem, a platform. This requires not only a strategy shift but also a culture shift, which will be fascinating to observe.

Whilst there are many questions and challenges – and it is always easier to shoot holes into a new approach and idea instead of building it – we see movement. Two years ago, everybody talked about these new models and ways of recruitment, now they are slowly creeping into the mainstream and changing ways of thinking, approaching and executing. It is fascinating and exciting when thought becomes reality.

 

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Riding the wave of freelance working – the trends behind the Freelancer.com success

Freelancer.com is expected to list on the Australian Stock market this week – 15th of November to be precise; at the current offer price the market capitalization would be $218m  and the company claims that the stock is already oversubscribed.

It is not surprising because Freelancer.com operates in one of the sweet spots of recruitment, riding the wave of temporary working, that will continue to build in years to come:

One of the fascinating changes in the world of work is the unstoppable rise of remote freelance working. Instead of continuing to play by the rules of the industrial society, we are now entering the era  of working ‘when we want and where we want’. This increases the global availability of talent, whilst enabling people to develop stronger local ties; skills and talent are moving, but only electronically. This e-transient knowledge section of society is being supported by the service sector  of society, which leads in equal parts to more automation of repetitive tasks and to an increase in casual work.

 

Casual labour is more prevalent outside the developed nations, particularly in developing countries.

Although casual labour is more prevalent outside the developed nations, overall it is a global phenomenon and a massive opportunity of levelling the playing field for everybody involved. Companies are sourcing workers from across the globe. In the current climate, advanced economies, such as the US and UK, are the leading sourcers of global online freelancers, and – as the slide below from cloud-based contractor sourcing site Elance shows – a significant portion of this labour is sourced from developing countries such as India and Pakistan.

To underpin this with some real numbers: Even though India is a service society, 35% of the all IT coding is written in India.  At the same time, it is worth remembering that the Elance’s figures, due to the source, will have a higher representation of the USA, but generally, they are a great representation of what is currently happening in the world of work.

Generally, the casualisation of employment is expected to continue, especially as it is driven by both the employer and worker.

These three trends – continued economic instability, longer-term benefits of temporary workforce and increased workplace flexibility desired by the worker – are the underlying drivers of this ever increasing change, not only in the UK as the example above, but globally.

Focus UK

Let’s have a closer look at the UK (as a proxy for developed nations):

During the economic downturn, the UK has experienced increasing casualisation of its labour market, which has led to a rise in part-time working, temporary employment, freelancing and remote working.

Part-time working has risen as employers limit their full-time hiring and try to retain their most valuable staff. So we see an ever increasing shift towards part-time work as more employees are unable to find full time work (from 10% in March 2008 to 18% in April 2012.)

The increase in temporary employment has similar drivers; it has increased as employers tighten their hiring in response to an uncertain economic outlook. Temporary employment growth has helped offset declines in permanent recruitment, but much of this is involuntary, with workers unable to find suitable permanent roles (see the slide below for figures)

So people need to make the most of the current employment market and as workers take more control of their (under)employment, freelancers have grown to record levels, due to fewer employment opportunities and the need to supplement income.

Remote working has also been on the rise, as it helped employers reduce costs and increase their flexibility. So far, it has all been driven by the economy. That is certainly a really important driver, but not the only one – at the same time, both men and women are increasingly seeking increased working flexibility, with 83% of workers (both male and female) in a recent survey noting the desire to work away from the office.

So whilst the shift is currently driven by the dire economic situation, it will become a mainstay of the working world, even when we are reaching calmer waters.  Ultimately, like money skills and talent will be moving fluidly around the globe, enabled by technology and shifts in values and priorities.

The emergence of new business models

A number of new business models have emerged to address the casualisation of the labour market. The level of backing of these businesses and the success achieved so far indicates that this is not a blip or a fad. Not at least the valuation of Freelancer.com

– Companies like Grockit serve the part-time, flexible working market: They are an online platform that connects students with tutors and provides tools to facilitate tutoring online and have received around $27m in funding.

– Companies like Taskrabbit and Amazon Mechanical Turk are sites built for task-related work. Taskrabbit connects people who want a job / task done, with people who will do the task for cash and have received around $18m in funding. Amazon launched the “mechanical turk” as an online marketplace launched in 2005 where people (mainly computer programmers) can post micro-tasks that cannot easily be automated and require a degree of human intelligence. So far around 500,000 workers are registered on the marketplace from 190 countries.

– Companies such as Freelancer.com, Elance, oDesk and Workana are focusing – successfully – on the remote-working, freelance market.  

In the longer-term, increased casualisation is likely to continue, as lasting economic uncertainty will likely result in employers favouring the flexibility of more casual work contracts and workers continuing to have limited employment alternatives. Many employers plan to carry on using temporary workers based on their positive experiences to date, even when we leave the current economic situation.

At the same time, workers are increasingly seeking flexibility to work away from the office and the labour market is becoming increasingly international, with companies sourcing workers from across the globe (partly driven by the socio-economic developments in developed and developing nations (shrinking populations, rising middle classes and the effects on migrations as explained in the post “The rise of the internal headhunter”). Expect this trend to continue, an improved economic situation might even speed it up instead of slowing it down.

 

The data t is based on an in-depth study by Evenbase into the casualisation of the labour.  I published a slightly different version of  post before Evenmore

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