Lack of skilled workers to increase demand for ‘open’ talent: HR experts

As the nature of work and workforce is changing, workplaces too are experimenting with hiring options, says an HR expert


Gig-based employment can help people earn 50% more if they improve their skills constantly. Photo: iStockphoto
Gig-based employment can help people earn 50% more if they improve their skills constantly. Photo: iStockphoto

New Delhi: The term open talent includes different forms of part-time employment including workers hired as retainers, a fixed-term contract or a project-based contract, or those who are paid by the hour.

As the nature of work and workforce is changing, workplaces too are experimenting with hiring options, an expert said.

“As availability of skilled talent gets increasingly difficult, organizations will have to accept the open talent network, especially for high-skilled jobs, said S.V. Nathan, chief talent officer at Deloitte in India. “Millennials are looking beyond permanent jobs. They are looking at interesting work, perhaps working part-time in multiple places in different work environments, in different roles.”

According to HR outsourcing and technology firm PeopleStrong, 18-20% of the corporate workforce would work on project-based jobs in the next 12-18 months.

In the new world of work, the colour of collars—white or blue—would cease to exist. The jobs need not be differentiated based on the time period or schedule of work, said Pankaj Bansal, co-founder and chief executive of PeopleStrong.

“Rather, they would be identified based on the work content. We will have lot of content experts, digital marketing experts, coders or Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts, who would have the capability to work across sectors,” he added.

According to staffing firms Adecco Group India, PeopleStrong and ManpowerGroup, sectors that have seen a rise in demand for project-based jobs include information technology (IT)/IT-enabled services, technology development, AI, manufacturing (design jobs), travel and hospitality, real estate and infrastructure, and engineering.

Hiring a project-based workforce is an effective business proposition as companies get access to the right talent without adding to their permanent workforce.

“Even at similar CTC (cost to company), a right-skilled temporary employee’s cost would be lower. Open talent hiring is quite popular in developed countries, like in Europe where even high-value or niche opportunities are available for temporary staffing across industries, giving potential jobseekers great options,” said Priyanshu Singh, country manager at HR solutions company Adecco Group India.

“As the skills in demand get as specific as designing or coding in software and programming language and the projects or gigs have become as short as three days, lot of youngsters are picking up these gigs,” said Bansal of PeopleStrong.

One’s pay in the open talent network largely depends on the negotiation skills and the quality of work even as referrals help in increasing an individual’s network. PeopleStrong estimates show that if one can constantly improve skills and the quality of jobs, gig-based employment can help them earn 50% more than what they would earn in their permanent jobs.

But as more and more companies move towards open talent, the role of HR leaders will become challenging.

Companies need to evaluate the performance of consultants and freelancers to keep them engaged and motivated, said Nathan of Deloitte.

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