Can you remember the first time you hired someone—or a service—online? I can barely pinpoint that time, myself. The thing is, open talent platforms or “talent communities” have been around for decades (yes, plural). But until recently many companies showed reluctance to make them a significant part of their workforce/talent strategy.
That is changing as businesses recognize the advantage of tapping the skill, speed, and scalability offered by platforms and communities. Deloitte estimates that talent platforms now manage over $2 billion in outsourced (freelance or contract) activity. In our recent 2020 trends report we explored how communities are growing rapidly to meet demands for general and niche skills. Here are a few key ways open talent platforms are evolving to meet those needs.
Team structures are changing, being replaced by talent networks and the ecosystems.
More businesses are viewing talent as networked ecosystems and are taking steps to create business talent models that integrate internal and external workers in teams, blending full-time/permanent hires with freelance, contract, or on-demand talent for flexibility, speed, and workforce sustainability.
Talent platforms fill more than technological skills gaps.
Our research uncovered that about 33% of talent services are focused on IT while others serve key functions such as operations (25%), marketing (15%), research and development (15%), and product design and support. As businesses adopt a networked model, software and systems, such as the newly launched Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit, and apps and web-based team interfaces like Slack (which went public in 2019 and saw 37% growth in users) help businesses connect a non-local blended workforce.
Businesses are flocking to improved access to highly skilled talent.
Talent communities/platforms increasingly provide access to highly skilled individuals and groups that would otherwise be missed by corporate talent outreach. Platforms like UpWork, Fiverr, 99Designs, Catalant, Topcoder, Freelancer.com, Toptal, Wazoku, Mathesia and others are growing quickly. In Q3 of 2019, UpWork reported revenue growth of 23% year-over-year to $78.8 million—and that more than 30% of Fortune 500 companies now use the platform.
Companies still have high concern about the quality of on-demand talent.
This gives platforms that recognize that concern the advantage. Some platforms that recognize this concern are actively serving a valuable HR function: screening, sorting, and curating talent pools with specialized skills on behalf of their clients or partners. We also see a growing number of talent communities and platforms recruiting talent from specific segments outside of the traditional workforce, such as parents or military and veterans. Examples include The Mom Project, The Second Shift, and WeGoLook.