Analysts: Prepare for gig economy's disruptions to US labor market, wage growth
- A strong November jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is partly due to the gig economy, a Randstad Souceright analysis says. The global talent solutions firm said 61% of employers plan to switch up to one-third of their full-time permanent positions to contingent jobs, while 50% said they're increasing their budgets to advance employees' careers through upskilling.
- A tight labor market in the U.S. may also be responsible for those trends, an Indeed Hiring Lab report shows. The job search website says searches for "full-time work" have gone up, as have those for terms like "no background check" and "felony-friendly jobs" positions.
- Employers may be pressured to relax hiring standards and raise both on-the-job training and overall wages, Indeed concludes. Although economists cited by Indeed say labor market disruption isn't quite at the levels seen in the mid-20th century or in the early 2000s, automation and globalization will require a response to help millions of individuals affected by shrinking and/or changing duties — let alone outright replacement.
A previous Randstad survey found that employers planned to switch one-third of their full-time permanent jobs into freelance or contract positions. Increasingly, HR and management across industries are waking up to the reality of today's labor market: it's impossible to ignore what gig workers bring to the table.
But it's also perilous to ignore the economic reality for these workers. It goes without saying that the vast majority lack access to traditional benefits, even though a sizable portion work in jobs that come with risk of injury. And while Congressional committees quibble over how the problem should be addressed, those same workers are organizing via social media, if they haven't already brought unionization attempts before the nearest court.
In the meantime, employers should be preparing for change on two fronts. The first is to address compliance concerns before they arise, making updates to employee handbooks and conversing with legal counsel to stay up-to-date on independent contractor laws near them.
The second, and arguably the most important preparation, strategically, is to adapt strategies for talent sourcing and upskilling to accommodate for emerging roles within the organization. Regardless of full- or part-time status, workers will need to adapt their skillsets to coming technological changes that will affect their workflow. Thought leaders tend to converge on STEM education and re-training, but for many industries, soft skills are equally important (if not more so).
Take a page from Indeed's book, too. Job descriptions are often the stalest part of the recruiting process, and some aren't even that accurate anymore. In an age where digital first impressions could make or break your chance of finding the ideal candidate, leading employers must regularly update essential functions and branding.
- Randstad Sourceright Talent Trends Quarterly | Q4 2017
- Indeed Hiring Lab The U.S. Labor Market: 2017 Review and Outlook
- HR Dive A new challenge: Recruiting for jobs that don't exist yet
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