Within the last 12 months, I’ve attended several C-Level Executive events where my team and I had the opportunity to discuss today’s labor market. One of those meetings based in the Midwest, the room was full of Ohio based Presidents and CEOs complaining about staffing challenges. With just a few questions, it was clear that this group of approximately 30 executives didn’t understand the Gig Economy. They were oblivious to the increasing number of Americans electing for independent work over structured employment and had zero strategies in place to integrate this growing independent labor pool into their corporate staffing plan.
A couple of weeks later, my team and I attended a similar event in Chicago. A different set of Presidents and CEOs in a different city had radically different responses when it came to staffing. I was astounded at how many of approximately 40 executives in the Chicago group were not only embracing an independent labor strategy but were successfully utilizing the strategy to meet their labor needs across multiple departments within their organization.
Two groups of Presidents/CEOs, two radically different experiences with staffing in today’s labor market.
Let me share some stats released this year by Edelman Intelligence in the “Freelancing in America 2018” study:
- 56.7 million Americans currently participate in independent work.
- 35% – 1 in 3 Americans freelanced at least one time over the last year.
- Despite a record number of 9 to 5 jobs openings in our current labor market, Americans are increasingly choosing freelance positions over structured employment positions.
- 51% of those freelancing say that no amount of money would get them to take a traditional job.
- Younger generations are freelancing more than any other generation in the workforce.
- The second-largest generation participating in independent labor is baby boomers.
- These freelancers are heavily driven by lifestyle over earnings.
Another study by Mavenlink titled “The White-Collar Gig Economy” outlined a couple of key findings:
- 94% of business leaders plan to continue using or expand their use of independent workers in the next year.
- 47% of businesses state they are looking to hire contractors to fill management and senior executive roles who have specialized skills for projects and initiatives.
Across industries and disciplines: retail stores, restaurants, construction, IT, marketing, customer support, packaging, warehousing, manufacturing, human resources, hospitality, accounting and finance, repair services like HVAC, plumbing and electrical, the brightest, forward-thinking leaders in their industries are embracing independent workers as part of their corporate labor strategy.
Currently, the U.S. has the lowest unemployment rate since 1952. Many companies’ only staffing strategy for the remainder of 2019 and 2020 is to work hard to fill positions with W2 structured employees. Don’t be one of those companies! Your days will be filled with frustration.
The only real option is to follow the companies taking advantage of the growing pool of independent workers as part of their staffing strategy to grow the prosperity of their organizations.