Gig economy platforms make it easy to source professional, expert talent

June 25, 2018 | Flexible Workforce | Blog
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Why enterprises are hiring differently in this economy

A tight labor market spells trouble for hiring managers—the shallow pool of candidates might even convince them to look beyond the traditional employee model to the gig economy.

While platforms for hiring flexible workers are emerging rapidly, at a glance, they might not seem relevant for enterprise leaders. High-profile consumer apps offer gig work such as daily chores and errands, such as delivering food, hanging a piece of artwork or picking up your kid from soccer practice.

But there is an emerging set of gig economy offerings that connect highly skilled professionals with organizations in need of professional service providers. Small business owners and enterprise leaders alike are using apps—or “platforms” as they’re more commonly called in corporate-speak—to source this talent.

“There is an emerging set of gig economy offerings that connect highly skilled professionals with organizations in need of professional service providers.”

These workers and the rest of the 57 million people participating in the gig economy are earn almost $1.4 trillion annually, according to this article in Entrepreneur.

Platforms refer to talent as “experts in their fields.” And research indicates a growing number choose to work this way. What this means is a large swath of gig workers are not inexperienced neophytes looking for full-time work.

Professional gig economy platforms

These platforms typically engage with their talent, track timecards and disperse compensation. Their number grows every day, as does the reach into new sectors.

Bounty0x is for people who want to create blockchain architecture or need it created. It reportedly has millions in tasks for freelancers. Blockchain freelancers earn an average hourly rate of $87.05.

Phlexable connects experienced financial analysts, certified public accountants and other types of accounting professionals with small business owners.

Paro is similar except it also sources CFO-level talent. “Projects are assigned via a matching algorithm, which helps ensure the right person is assigned to each project and that freelancers have a steady flow of work. In the short term, the Paro team hopes to improve the capabilities of the algorithm to allow for more specific and accurate matches,” according to an article by Built Chicago. Paro received funding from Revolution Ventures, a venture capital firm co-founded by AOL’s Steve Case.

SpareHire sources pros in investment banking, management consulting, private equity, venture capital, corporate development and related fields.

Hire an Esquire is one of a number of platforms that source attorneys on a project basis.The company boasts a network of more than 6,000 vetted legal professionals across the country. Lawtrades and orrick are similar.

Asset verification and related services is another sector that’s part of the gig economy. WeGoLook earned media attention as it partnered with insurance companies in need of catastrophe adjusters.

A plethora of platforms for creative services and marketing talent abound. One of the better known is Fiverr, along with others such as Freelancer, Mediabistro and Upwork. Upwork has a wide pool of talent that includes experts in IT and networking, data science and analytics, engineering and architecture, as well as legal and administrative support.

Liveops is at the forefront of enterprise customer care, providing on-demand, domestic phone agents to handle a wide range of calls from insurance sales and claims to retail sales, medication compliance and roadside assistance.

With so many different platforms, this may seem like a lot to track. Sites like GigWorker are a great resource for understanding variety of gig economy industries, platforms, and companies and how they differ.

A developing partnership

Other platforms are emerging at enterprise organizations seek a tool to manage their gig workforce. WorkMarket is a company that has become part of a deal between ADP and Mercer. WorkMarket enables companies to source and vet independent workers and manage engagements with them. It also has functionality for compensation and evaluations. Customers include The New York Times, Walgreens, Yahoo and others.

WorkMarket founder and Senior VicePresident at ADP, Jeff Wald, has high hopes for the marriage. The combination of Mercer’s consulting expertise and WorkMarket’s state-of-the-art tech will “enable our joint clients to radically improve productivity, engagement and growth,” Wald said.

Technology-driven change is unfolding in faster and faster cycles, according to a 2016 a briefing paper by McKinsey & Company, and it is dramatically changing the way companies work. According to the paper, in the past decade, we’ve had a “profound digital transformation. Two-thirds of US adults now carry smartphones, three-quarters use social media platforms, and 98 percent of the population at least has access to high-speed wireless connectivity.”

The paper also notes a key point: “The uneven pace of digitization matters because firms and industries on the digital frontier are capturing disproportionate gains, creating a new digital divide between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-mores.’”

The playing field for talent is highly competitive thanks to the tight labor market, and fundamentally uneven due to some companies capitalizing on the new digital divide. Taking advantage of apps and platforms to source on-demand talent is one way for business leaders to close that divide.

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Stephanie Stouck

Stephanie is director of solutions marketing at Liveops. She specializes in developing deep insights in the call center industry to create innovative solutions that maximize business agility and quality.