Business has changed in the last decade in the usual ways: technology innovations have continued, new channels of customer service have arisen, markets have become more globalized and customers have become more demanding. But it’s more than that: the very nature of what companies require from the labor force has changed.
According to a recent Accenture (News - Alert) report, “Trends Reshaping the Future of HR: The Rise of the Extended Workforce,” the future will be about flexibility in the workforce, and traditional hiring models may not be enough to meet this demand, which may mean that the future belongs to contractors and freelancers.
“Organizations will need to push talent management beyond the confines of the enterprise wall to include the new extended workforce: a global network of outside contractors, outsourcing partners, vendors, strategic partners and other nontraditional workers. By maximizing the potential of both an extended workforce and permanent employees, companies can gain critical advantages—including agility and access to valuable talent,” wrote the report’s authors.
This non-traditional talent, according to Accenture, will be supplied by people who are “jobless but not workless.” Other data, both formal and anecdotal, have suggested that we live in a “gig” kind of jobs world today…in fact, the idea has coined a new verb: “gigging.” It’s not just for recent grads, such as freshly-minted MBAs, either: the “gigs” trend is showing up for workers at all stages of their careers, across all industries and business sectors.
Employment sites are already onboard with this idea. The Web site E-lance has what it calls its “Private Talent Cloud,” a service designed for Fortune 100 clients looking to these flexible and non-permanent workforces. The service helps enterprises manage freelancers, helping clients find and keep track of individuals who work in temporary and semi-permanent gigs.
The trend is already on the rise. According to a recent Forbes article, a study by Tower Lane Consulting found that more than 60 percent of U.S. enterprises say they plan to increase freelance hiring in 2014. The future, it would seem, belongs to the consultants.