A new research report explores how HR can adapt in a tough talentÂ market.
By Zoe Harte
What keeps HR leaders up at night? The answer is nearlyÂ unanimous: Finding the right talent. In fact, 96 percentÂ of HR managers who participated in the 2018 UpworkÂ Future Workforce HR Report said they had an openingÂ on their team in 2017.
The report, conducted by independent research firmÂ Inavero and commissioned by Upwork, surveyed HRÂ managers to better understand the hiring challengesÂ they face today and explore how HR teams are adaptingÂ their workforce strategies to the rapid evolution ofÂ skills. The report found three trends that are likely toÂ have an impact on the next coming months.
1. Skills specialization will drive HR talent needs. NotÂ only is hiring getting harder in an age of near fullÂ employment, but the rapid evolution of skills is causingÂ a dramatic shift in how organizations find and engageÂ talent. Seventy-eight percent of HR managers agree thatÂ skills will become more specialized, while 61 percentÂ predict that the majority of todayâs jobs wonât evenÂ exist in the next 10 years. This isnât that hard to believeÂ considering the changes that have occurred during theÂ past decade, from the explosion of cloud apps, to theÂ dominance of social media to the emergence of big dataÂ and AI as crucial strategic tools.
With the half-life of skills shrinking, HR managers canÂ find themselves in a bind as they strive to stay ahead ofÂ the curve. To meet the needs of the future workforce,Â nearly 70 percent of HR managers say that organizationsÂ will need to invest in training and education to helpÂ workers adapt and ensure their company has access toÂ the skills they need to compete.
2. Flexible workforces can help fill gaps. Not having theÂ right talent can hamper a companyâs ability to compete.Â Nearly 85 percent of teams that used freelancers saidÂ they would have to cancel, delay, or extend projectÂ workloads if they werenât able to source that talent.Â And in todayâs competitive job market, thatâs an answerÂ that wonât satisfy the C-suite.
In order to maintain productivity and output, savvyÂ HR managers should embrace the opportunity to lookÂ outside their organization to find the exact skills theyÂ need at the exact moment they need them. In fact, 62Â percent of HR managers said these talent shortagesÂ were the top driver for embracing a more flexibleÂ workforce.
HR managers are also predicting that the flexibleÂ workforce will grow at a rapid clip. HR managers expectÂ that the next 10 years will bring nearly a 180 percentÂ increase in the amount of work completed by flexibleÂ talent.
3. Engaging freelance talent can ease HRâs workloadÂ and stress. The good news is that increasing the use ofÂ freelancers is helping HR hit its targets. The managersÂ who leveraged freelancers to help with projects wereÂ more than twice as likely to report that the hiringÂ process improved in 2017, compared to those who donâtÂ use a flexible workforce.
Freelancers are playing a major role in meeting talentÂ needs. Nearly 60 percent of HR managers are currentlyÂ relying on freelancers to fill critical skill gaps withinÂ their organization.
No longer just a stop-gap measure to fill a last-minuteÂ void, nearly 60 percent of HR managers who useÂ freelancers today agree they are a vital component ofÂ their companyâs workforce strategy.
Now more than ever, HR is looking for a holistic view ofÂ the entire workforce and the skills needed to drive theÂ business forward. Better insight into the total talentÂ picture allows HR to more effectively understand theÂ skills that are available and where the gaps to helpÂ make better informed decisions about human capitalÂ investment exist. When looking beyond traditionalÂ models of work, HR will truly be able to help theirÂ organizations compete in todayâs evolving workforce.
Zoe Harte is the senior vice president of human resources and talentÂ innovation at Upwork.