The World Skills Gap:
How On-Demand Talent
Can Help

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It’s hard not to feel excited by the economic push that has underpinned growth in the U.S. market over the past few years. The manufacturing sector, among other industries, has experienced a welcome expansion that has raised demand to its highest levels in years.

Yet companies in the U.S. and all over the world are struggling to find the right talent to fill a increasing number of open positions due to a growing skills gap.

This swelling skills shortage is impacting every sector from manufacturing to sales, engineering, data analysis and more. According to one survey, conducted by Manpower, 45% of employers are struggling to fill roles with skilled workers.

Additionally, a recent CareerBuilder report revealed some telling information about the state of the U.S. labor market:

  • 60% of U.S. employers have job vacancies that stay open for 12 weeks or longer.
  • The average annual cost HR managers say they sustain for having extended job vacancies is more than $800,000.
  • 55% of employers say they have seen a negative impact on their business due to extended job vacancies.

"The gap between the number of jobs posted each month and the number of people hired is growing larger as employers struggle to find candidates to fill positions at all levels within their organizations,"

writes Matt Ferguson,
CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation.

What’s more, this gap is expected to continue growing over the next few years, with a greater shortage of workers predicted for every state in the U.S. by the year 2029.

Data analysis, science and engineering are among the most needed skills, and in manufacturing alone, a projected 2.4 million positions (or the equivalent of 53% of all open positions) are expected to go unfilled between 2018 and 2028, according to Deloitte. 

The good news? There are solutions organizations can use to ensure they keep pace with the shifting skill sets of today’s — and tomorrow’s — workforce.

On-Demand Talent: A Solution for All Industries

With more jobs than skilled workers to fill them, companies have turned to on-demand workers to find the talent they need to keep their organizations growing, innovative and profitable. One Forbes survey revealed that 47% of respondents hired temp over full-time employees for needed skills.

“Given growing skills shortages and the low birth rate in many countries, leveraging and managing ‘alternative workforces’ will become essential to business growth in the years ahead,” write Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz and Indranil Roy in Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital trends report. 

While the skills gap is becoming “a larger and more serious drag on efficiency” in the words of a Workplace Trends study, the contingent workforce provides organizations with opportunities to drive efficiencies by fast-tracking projects and tasks that in-house workers may have struggled with for much longer. Plus, if an organization needs to employ a highly skilled worker for a short time, they can do so without having to worry about providing benefits, withholding taxes, or other details.

“For organizations that want to grow and access critical skills, managing alternative forms of employment has become critical,” Volini, Schwartz and Roy point out.

And with roughly one-third of the American workforce actively choosing to freelance, there’s a growing abundance of on-demand workers available to take on niche projects and are support teams with skill sets that full-time employees might be lacking.

The Advantages of On-Demand Talent

For business owners or hiring managers, on-demand talent represents one of the fastest ways to close skills gaps. With advantages like a shorter recruiting cycle, a larger talent pool and bottom-line cost savings, there are a few reasons organizations should tap into this resource to source candidates with hard-to-find skill sets for open positions.

1. On-Demand Talent Provides Flexibility and Specialized Skills

Skilled contractors are often available on quick notice to take on projects or fulfill other sudden demands that in-house teams may not have the bandwidth or skill set to handle. For skilled positions, on-demand workers usually specialize in niche areas and are highly qualified in their respective fields. In fact, one recent report revealed that 49% of freelance workers are likely to be skilled professionals who work in computer programming, IT and consulting.

Companies often turn to these types of freelancers or contract workers to provide services that no one inside the company can provide. Think: data scientists, marketing strategist, copy writers, and more.

2. Freelancers Reskill More Often than Traditional Employees

The fact of the matter is that freelancers are more likely than traditional employees to participate in more frequent skills education than traditional employees. One recent report revealed that freelance professionals are almost twice as likely to proactively reskill than traditional workers.

Additionally, the report also showed that one in five freelancers had participated in skill-related education in just the past week, versus only six percent of traditional employees.

3. On-Demand Talent Reduces Costs and Risks

Tapping into on-demand talent doesn’t just provide quick access to skilled workers — it allows companies to introduce a new business approach that saves money and reduces the risks that typically come with hiring new full-time employees.

For instance, on-demand talent gives organizations leeway to conduct a “trial run” without having to worry about paying unemployment insurance if things don’t work out. If a freelancer doesn’t perform the job up to specifications, they much are easier to part ways with than a full-time employee.

Additionally, hiring a freelancer means an organization is not responsible for footing the bill for benefits like retirement, health insurance, life insurance, Medicare and more. Plus, companies don’t need to worry about payroll responsibilities, FICA tax withholdings, or other details when enlisting the services of on-demand workers.

4. On-Demand Talent Provides Access to a Worldwide Pool of Workers

Hiring for in-house positions often means pulling from a limited pool of local candidates. However, on-demand resources like Stoke talent opens up a worldwide talent pool.

What’s more, freelancers’ and contract workers’ livelihoods depend on building and nurturing trusting relationships with their clients through consistently turning in high-quality work.

While in-house employees tend to “get into a groove” with their work, on-demand workers realize that nothing’s guaranteed, so they are always firing on all cylinders. After all, they rely on repeat business, so they’re motivated to provide good work, often in tight time frames.

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What the Future Holds

As technology continues advancing and the knowledge economy grows, so too will the number of jobs requiring additional skills.

And while the head-spinning proliferation of online tools and talent marketplaces can feel overwhelming when it comes to an organization’s search for the right contingent workers, enterprise platforms  like Stoke Talent make it easier to get the job done by connecting corporate workers to multiple contingent workforce marketplaces through a single interface.

Close the skills gaps in your organization and supercharge your growth, innovation and profit with Stoke’s revolutionary talent platform today.

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