The market for top-level freelance consultants will grow dramatically over the next five years to more than one million independent professionals, according to on-demand labour specialist MBA & Co.
MBA & Co CEO Daniel Callaghan told HR magazine that the freelance marketplace is gaining more and more traction. “The on-demand talent market essentially means that an organisation is able to draw in expertise as and when required on a very flexible, very transparent basis,” he said.
Callaghan suggests that on-demand talent allows employees and employers a desirable level of flexibility. “Individuals increasingly value and opt for flexibility in how they take on professional assignments,” he explained. “We see that companies really value and increasingly need skills that are quite hard to find, and the ability to bring those skills in on a specific project basis is actually incredibly valuable.
“Occasionally that leads to a permanent engagement for the individual, so both parties are able to 'try before they buy'. But, more often than not, the company just has the expertise brought in to support its needs, and then both parties are happy to move on.”
On-demand talent can also be used to reduce company costs. “Any job that is open or any skills that are required but unfulfilled are costing the business money because it’s a missed opportunity to get work done,” Callaghan said.
He warns that organisations will have to adjust to the on-demand economy by hiring talent when it is needed, or fight to keep their staff by offering higher salaries and shorter working days.
“We are already seeing forward-thinking businesses update their hiring and talent management strategies for what will be an inevitable shortage of full-time senior directors and managers in the next five years,” he said. “This is a brain-drain of epic proportions and a huge warning sign that traditional nine to five employment has passed its sell-by date.”