Businesses across a range of industries and sectors are facing acute talent shortages. By 2023 it's predicted that more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there are not enough skilled professionals to fill them.
As business leaders rethink how to get their hands on highly skilled professionals in light of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, many are turning to alternative workforce models like on-demand hiring to address capability and capacity gaps on their teams.
But what is on-demand hiring, and how are businesses using this flexible hiring model as a strategic growth lever? We tackle these questions and more in this blog.
What is On-Demand Talent Acquisition?
On-demand talent acquisition is far from a new or novel concept. For years, companies have regularly looked for subject matter expertise, particularly in the area of technology and IT, to supplement their teams. But the pandemic and recent labor shortages brought this alternative workforce model into the mainstream.
47 million Americans alone quit their jobs in 2021. An estimated 5.4 million have gone on to join the independent workforce, with many joining on-demand talent platforms to help them do so. We’ve seen this trend on Graphite as the number of independent experts joining the platform has increased 39% YoY in Q1 2022 alone.
But what is an on-demand talent acquisition model? It’s a flexible workforce model that provides businesses with seamless access to the best independent subject matter experts globally .
This alternative workplace model, defined by Deloitte as “work performed by outsourced teams, contractors, [...] and the crowd (outsourced networks),” is growing in popularity. And the shift is reflected on Graphite. In 2021, the overall spend for independent subject matter experts increased by 170% YoY.
Flexible hiring allows companies to readily tap into external expertise to overcome internal talent shortages. Businesses can scale and build high-performing teams as and when necessary — helping them accomplish their ever-changing goals.
Organizations usually turn to dedicated on-demand hiring platforms, such as Graphite, to hire independent subject matter experts. These platforms provide companies with access to a large range of top-tier talent.
Talent in these networks are highly specialized, with expertise in highly sought-after functional (corporate strategy, market research, sales and marketing, IT, and more) and industry skills (life sciences, financial services, operations, and more).
They also hold impressive backgrounds. Most have 12-15 years of experience working at Big Four accounting and MBB firms and hold advanced degrees. Meaning that companies can find exactly who they need to execute mission-critical projects.
How Does On-Demand Talent Acquisition Work?
Onboarding an independent subject matter expert or consultant online might not be comfortable at first. But the process for hiring an expert on-demand is actually fairly straightforward.
Organizations connect with an account executive (AE) who works for the on-demand talent platform to define the project’s scope. With the scope of work outlined, the AE then posts the project on the platform.
Independent contractors, or experts (as Graphite calls them), can apply to the project or can be invited to the project by the talent engagement team. As experts apply or get invited to the project, the talent engagement team carefully reviews each profile to ensure they are presenting the best fit for the role to the client.
Within 48 hours, the AE provides the client with a shortlist of potential experts. After engaging with each expert using the platform's in-app messaging tools and meeting rooms, the client selects their chosen expert, and the project commences.
This process typically takes 13.5 days from start to finish. A huge difference when compared to the 42+ working days it takes to hire an employee via the traditional route. It’s partly why companies are increasingly turning to on-demand talent platforms to build and scale their teams.
The Top 4 Benefits of On-Demand Talent Platforms
While there are multiple benefits to using the on-demand talent platforms, four benefits stand out.
Increases access to top-tier talent
One of the main limitations of traditional hiring methods like in-house recruiting and staffing agencies is the size of the talent pool they have access to. Typically, in the traditional hiring model, the team sources candidates for the role based on the client’s geographic location. Since it's limited, it takes longer to find high-quality prospects for the role.
On-demand talent platforms like Graphite flips the script. First, it increases the quality of talent that is available because the network is composed of highly skilled professionals from across the world. Second, they can find someone faster for the job. reducing the time it takes to find, onboard, and kick off a project with an independent expert.
Accelerates time to market
By hiring experts on-demand, organizations can bring products/services to market a lot faster than they would if they hired someone with the typical hiring approach.
On-demand experts are already specialists in a particular area meaning they can seamlessly integrate themselves into the project's workflow and the company's culture. Companies don't have to upskill or reskill their employees.
Organizations can also circumvent other time-sappers (like onboarding) that further delay the time until they derive a tangible return on investment (ROI) from new hires.
Enables labor flexibility
In today’s disrupted business environment, companies need flexibility to better respond to customer and company needs. On-demand talent acquisition allows organizations to scale their workforce with ease.
Using the on-demand talent platform, companies can create a bench program with pre-vetted independent experts ready to deploy when a need arises. And the results of this approach are well worth it.
According to McKinsey, companies that can quickly allocate talent to evolving priorities are twice as likely to report stronger performance and deliver better results per dollar spent.
This increased flexibility also helps businesses keep costs to a minimum — they only need to pay for what they need at that moment in time. In contrast, with a more traditional model, you have to pay for more than the skill you need based on the type of contract you sign on top of onboarding, the recruiter's costs for placing the candidate, and more.
Diversity of thought is a crucial factor in driving innovation. According to HBR, "Fresh new perspectives are necessary to bring forth bold new ideas, challenge long-standing internal thinking, and provide a more complete internal representation of the customer base."
Independent experts work with a variety of clients across multiple industries. This provides them with a broad perspective, exposing them to different challenges and unique solutions. This breadth of experience fosters innovative thinking — meaning on-demand experts are well-placed to help companies reach new breakthroughs.
On-demand Talent Acquisition is the Future of Work
Finding the right talent at the right time is key for business success. On-demand talent acquisition helps organizations access the expertise they lack when they most need it. They can cost-effectively plug skills/talent gaps and leverage the best talent on the market in doing so.
Indeed, 90% of business leaders view on-demand talent platforms as somewhat or very important when it comes to providing their organization with a competitive advantage moving forward.
If your company needs to get a project over the line but lacks the capabilities to do so, it’s time you turned to on-demand talent acquisition. Get in touch to learn more about Graphite’s on-demand talent platform.