Early adopter temps joining online staffing platforms. You should follow.

How many times have you heard it? There’s a war for quality candidates. Your workers are your competitive advantage. Talent is going to define the winners of the next decade. And so on. But despite screaming headlines, various industries cannot fill their open positions. At the same time, millions of people are unemployed. A recent McKinsey Global Institute report refers to how online talent platforms can ease issues in our dysfunctional labor market.

Traditional contingent workers, however, have been slow to adopt. Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2014 Temporary Worker Survey revealed that 66 percent of traditional temporary workers have never even heard of online staffing. But here’s the nugget of gold. Among those who have heard of it, a whopping 38% are already employed at least occasionally via these platforms.

You have to go where the talent is. And if traditional temporary workers are starting to adopt online staffing in large numbers, buyers of staffing services should take this seriously.

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Another interesting observation from the survey is that it’s not tech-savvy young people but older workers who are joining the online platforms in greatest numbers,. This may reflect that older workers are often discriminated against in in-person interviews, whereas in the level playing field of online anonymity they have a better shot at finding work. That’s a plus from a hiring perspective because it means the technology may help overcome the universal realities of discrimination. “It’s just an inescapable fact of human nature that bias exists, and that can get in the way of hiring the best person. The anonymity of these platforms diminishes the potential for bias,” says Jon Osborne, SIA’s VP of strategic sesearch.

“Online talent platforms are getting traction but not as fast as we expected,” says Ilonka Jankovich, Randstad Innovation Fund, managing partner. Last year, the €50 million fund made investments in four HR tech companies. “But we do see staffing firms starting their own initiatives or teaming up with other online platforms,” she adds.

It’s gaining momentum. The power of these platforms may not be apparent to the buyers and suppliers of temporary labor today.  But if the early adopter trend — including Millennials and retirees — continues, these platforms could be dominant hunting grounds for talent.

MORE: Coaching is the next big thing in online staffing

Subadhra Sriram

Subadhra Sriram
Subadhra Sriram is Staffing Industry Analysts' editor and publisher, media products. She can be reached at SSriram (at) staffingindustry (dot) com.

Subadhra Sriram

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