How Hiring or Finding Work Online Is Changing: Trends to Watch in 2016

A great workplace shift is underway. We’re seeing it in the way workforces are structured  – or even defined.  It’s being driven by multiple factors:

  • a constantly changing global business environment,
  • a highly competitive marketplace that features hyper-specialization,
  • growth in project-based work within a rising “freelance economy,” and
  • a talent pool of salaried or contract workers that demands work-life flexibility.

Amidst all these tumultuous changes in the nature of work, online work platforms are playing an increasingly central role. Here are the trends we’re watching for 2016.

ONLINE WORK PLATFORMS DRIVING NEW BUSINESS FORMATION, ESPECIALLY “REMOTE-FIRST” BUSINESSES: The expanding availability of freelance professional help in particular has vastly reduced the cost and lowered the barriers to starting a business. In recent years, many companies have become “remote friendly,” but in 2016, that paradigm could shift towards companies that are built to be mobile from inception. Enabled by advancements in communication technology, the remote-first structure is a perfect vehicle for using online work platforms to assemble a team for just about anything.

THE RISE OF INDEPENDENT CONSULTANTS: This is true for all types of consultants, but the numbers are especially dramatic in the IT field. While traditional IT consulting firms are experiencing a slowdown in growth, the number of businesses hiring independent consultants for large IT projects on Upwork has grown 22% in the last year. This transition has been ushered in by the availability of highly specialized consultants—previously only found in large consulting firms—within the freelance market.

2016 AS THE YEAR OF DIVERSITY: Talent guru Josh Bersin predicts this will be the year of gender and ethnic diversity in business, driven by a compelling pile of recent statistics demonstrating how companies that embrace diversity and inclusion statistically outperform their peers in business. Substantial buzz, lawsuits and serious discussions on gender diversity in particular both the technology and finance industries in 2015, so expect to see stepped up efforts to recruit diverse work teams, with online work platforms being used to stretch the pool of diverse talent beyond the local region.

SPECIALIZED TALENT PLATFORMS FOR SPECIFIC TYPES OF PROFESSIONALS: Specialized talent firms are all seeing explosive growth along with the rapidly shifting business landscape. Graphite matches talented professionals in finance, strategy and investment banking worlds with employers such as PE, VC, or consulting firms. Graphite features temporary consultants for hire, but it’s also used to search or supply talent for long term positions. Simplicity Consulting supplies marketing talent on demand to high tech enterprises. Some new entrants specialize in placing certain kinds of professionals who have specific workplace requirements themselves. Power to Fly, for example, places female IT professionals who want to work a salaried job from home.

MORE INTERNAL ONLINE TALENT PLATFORMS: Some firms have begun posting talent boards internally to make it easier for their employees to find expertise across geographically dispersed organizations when they need to assemble a productive team.

ACCELERATING GROWTH & EXPANDING SERVICES IN THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE: According to a much-cited report this year by McKinsey about online talent platforms, this mode of recruiting, hiring and finding work will get even bigger and more robust by next year. “Existing platforms will continue to expand their networks, new platforms will be created, additional functionalities will be added, and the data sets created by this activity will grow richer and deeper.”

If you would like to know more about Graphite, browse our projects or review the professionals featured on our online work platform.

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