- Businesses want to hire, yet they’re struggling to source talent, according to a survey from Upwork, released Aug. 25. Of the 1,000 U.S. hiring managers who responded, seven in 10 anticipate staffing up over the next six months, but 60% said it’s difficult to find talent to fill specific positions.
- The job categories hiring managers need to fill most urgently are: accounting (33%), IT and networking (30%) and operations (29%). More than half (52%) of the respondents said customer service will be a top position they seek to fill over the next six months.
- Nearly two-thirds (60%) of hiring managers said data science and analytics roles will be the hardest to fill, followed by architecture and engineering (58%) and IT and networking (58%).
As businesses cope with talent shortages and shift away from traditional work environments, Upwork, a freelancing platform, has reported increased interest in independent contractor use. It’s not alone: In November 2020, GigSmart, a mobile staffing app, reported a 460% jump in hourly gig postings since the pandemic lockdown began nine months earlier.
Many of the placements were in construction, food service and warehouses. But demand for contract workers also included individuals with programming skills, coding, web design and social media development, according to a May 2020 report from Freelancer.com.
2021 brought more interest: 50% of independent professionals in the U.S. saw an increased demand for their services compared to 2020, according to a May 2022 report from Fiverr, a global online marketplace for freelance services. Independent workers providing technical services (61%) were most likely to face increased demand, compared to professional services (46%) and creative services (23%), the report found.
Businesses driving the demand seem to be satisfied: 85% of hiring managers in the Upwork survey who hire freelancers say that working with independent professionals allows them to access talent with specialized skills, according to the findings.
Despite that benefit, strategies that rely on independent contractors may raise some concerns. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the more than 4,000 business leaders who responded to a survey by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte said that effectively managing external contributors was critical to success. Yet only 30% said their organizations were prepared to do so.
One key component is workplace tech. Companies should have tech strategies in place to address the new realities of remote work, a Citrix marketing manager previously told HR Dive. Retention is another concern. An April report by PRO Unlimited found that more than half of contingent workers who ended their assignment early did so within the first two months.