Australian businesses leaders tell me that access to the right skills, at the right time, and in the right place is critical for innovation. Whether in the financial, tech, retail, or manufacturing industries, those managing major tech and innovation projects say existing systems are simply ill-equipped to find and hire skilled tech talent at the pace needed to keep their projects on track.
We are in the midst of the most significant workforce shift in the past 100 years. Contract tech specialists continue to fill critical roles in important technology projects and they are no longer used to plug holes or tackle the unwanted roles.
Businesses of all kinds are constantly looking to deliver innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Their customers are demanding the latest digital services and improved customer experiences. As a tech savvy nation, expectations of fast-paced, ongoing innovation are high. Business leaders have realised spending months and thousands of dollars recruiting employees doesn’t make sense. However, the current recruitment system is no longer fit for purpose. Something is broken.
Australia’s contingent workforce is expected to grow to over 25 per cent of the total workforce by 2020 and we are seeing organisations increasingly use contract workers — freelancers, contingent workers — to meet their needs. Contract workers are flexible, adaptable, and ready to hit the ground running at short notice. In addition, they bring unique expertise with specific technical skills that are rarely found in-house.
With today’s innovation largely driven by technology, it makes sense that IT teams need to be the primary adopters of the new model of skills-based, contract employment. The companies most successfully adapting to the new model of employment are updating their recruitment practices throughout the business.
Technology infiltrates all parts of a company, with the leading drivers of digital growth such as cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence transforming the way business functions operate.
Across the C-suite, executives are looking to build teams equipped with a variety of skills to drive growth and innovation using the latest digital platforms and tools. The opportunity to leverage short-term highly skilled professionals allows teams to scale up and down to meet specific project demands.
The emergence of online platforms that connect employers directly with skilled professionals offers an opportunity for the whole business to think differently about contingent workforce management. Businesses are increasingly empowering project and line managers to become key decision-makers in meeting targets that require flexibility, quick turnarounds and specific skill sets.
Managers know what skills they need and when they need them. Empowering line of business leaders and HR to reach out directly to highly skilled on-demand professional reduces vacancies on project teams. Removing time consuming recruitment processes increases the agility of a business, facilitating the ability to react to consumer demands. It also helps ease the pressure on HR managers who are faced with lengthy waits on recruiters. Recruitment should turn from a month-long process to filling project vacancies in one day.
While core full-time staff will remain crucial for long-term project management, client relations and strategic thinking — contingent, contract and non-permanent workforces are the key assets for our innovation efforts.
Jennifer Maritz is CEO of listed digital staffing platform Nvoi.
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