Why Today’s Contingents Are Moving Online

Temp help today isn’t what it used to be. No longer made-up largely of moderately-skilled workers, today’s contingent workers are among the highest-skilled and most-desired professionals.

Why the sudden and dramatic shift? Simple. As values and lifestyles have changed, more and more top talent is leaving behind the cubicle and 9-to-5 grind for the freedom and flexibility of contingent work. Factor in our rapid advances in technology and you’ll also understand why freelancers are moving to online work.If you have the skills, and you have the talent, you can now work for anyone, anywhere.

The result: An estimated 30 percent of those in today’s job market (roughly 42 million workers) are either self-employed or part time. Businesses are responding in earnest to this surge, hiring record numbers of online freelancers. In fact, many large companies today report 30 percent of their procurement spend is on contingent workers.

Here are a few reasons why businesses are by-passing “on-site” contingent workers in favor of online freelance teams:

  1. Greater skills.
    Whatever project you have, it’s simple to find talented freelancers ready to tackle your next job. From technical and financial needs to marketing and design requirements, you’re certain to find a qualified candidate online. With millions of online workers available you’re also no longer restricted to people in your immediate area. If you’re in rural America and need a PHP programmer, medical writer or voice-over talent, simply post a job online to receive job proposals.
  2. Better pricing.
    Similarly, with freelancers available around the globe, you can compare multiple job proposals to find a candidate delivering the best value. If you’re a small business in San Francisco you can get a mobile app developed without the high cost of Bay Area freelancers. You also save money by avoiding the costs of a desk, hot coffee and other expenses of on-site contingent workers.
  3. Improved screening.
    Online workers have online profiles — complete with a portfolio, job ratings and recommendations from previous employers. No more educated guesses – always know the quality of your freelance workers before the job begins.
  4. Faster job completion.
    Online workers are, literally, standing by. There’s no longer a need to wait for a staffing firm to respond to your request, source workers and send over a list of possible people. By going online you can post a job online and receive job proposals from qualified candidates in a matter of minutes.
  5. Increased safety.
    With online work, rather than pay employees before the work is done, simply put the money in an escrow account. When milestones are reached, funds are released to the worker. All work can also be done in secure workrooms, where all documents can be stored securely.
  6. Happier workers.
    Online workers are notoriously cheerful. Because they’re working when they want, on the jobs they want, from wherever they want, freelancers do consistently great work. Businesses constantly report to us how easy it is to get work done with online workers.

Bottom line: Our contingent workforce today is in the midst of an exciting evolution, allowing businesses to affordable find the perfect worker to get the job done. With so many online freelancers only a click away, it’s no wonder temp work is increasingly “temp”ting for businesses and online workers alike.

Darrell Jones
Darrell Jones is editor-in-chief of Elance, where businesses find, hire and collaborate with online freelance workers. He can be reached at DJones (at) Elance (dot) com.

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2 comments
andrewkarpie
andrewkarpie

Good points about online staffing platform experience/value on the client and the contractor sides.   

andrewkarpie
andrewkarpie

It is very interesting to consider that one of the reasons workers are turning to online platforms is that it it easier for them to get and perform work.  The traditional hiring process is often opaque to work demands, and often inefficient and downright obstructionist.

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