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December 20, 2020

High skills freelance economy surges as digital talent platforms help build new on-demand workforce — Harvard Business School (HBS) & Boston Consulting Group.

Researchers at Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work and BCG’s Henderson Institute find that 90% of companies surveyed see a future competitive advantage in shifting their talent model to a blend of full-time and freelance employees. With a surge in remote work due to Covid-19, the move to an on-demand workforce would accelerate.

Harvard Business School, BCG

BOSTON — Researchers from Harvard Business School’s Managing the Future of Work Project and Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute today released “Building the On-Demand Workforce.” The report explores the recent rise of digital talent platforms that create a new marketplace for high-skill freelance work. Early adopters of these platforms see a competitive advantage in shifting their workforce model to a blend of full-time and freelance employees. At the same time, millions of highly skilled professionals, who seek flexible and remote work, are using these platforms to connect with employers.

Researchers from BCG, and HBS’ Project on Managing the Future of Work, surveyed nearly 700 senior business leaders at US companies. The survey’s goal was to understand better the pervasiveness and patterns in using new talent platforms. The report is based on information from this groundbreaking survey and in-depth interviews with representatives from the talent platforms themselves and the companies that use them.

“Our research showed that many leadership teams have not yet fully grasped the strategic significance of these talent platforms. They are more than a stopgap. They are a means for resolving the chronic problems companies face while filling their talent needs. Business leaders cannot risk missing a critical opportunity to build a more flexible, resilient organization,” said Joseph Fuller, professor of management practice and a co-chair of the Project on Managing the Future of Work at Harvard Business School.

• Transforming the Workforce Transforms the Work

Due to rapid automation, digital transformation, and demographic change, companies are increasingly struggling to find people with the skills they need when they need them. A growing ecosystem of more than 300 talent platforms has emerged, offering companies on-demand access to highly skilled workers. These high skill platforms — companies like Catalant, InnoCentive, Kaggle, Toptal, and Upwork — can be grouped roughly into three categories: marketplaces for premium talent, digital freelancing marketplaces, and crowdsourcing innovation platforms.

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the need for companies to be more agile in reacting to changes, managing fixed costs, and managing the work itself, lending even more importance to the fact that users of platforms report increased speed to market, productivity, and ability to innovate.

• Now Is the Time to Get Strategic

The survey shows that an increasing number of managers have been experimenting with these new talent platforms. Still, to bring about change on the scale needed to innovate new business models, the study underlines that companies will have to get strategic and appoint a C-suite leader to explore how talent platforms can unlock new value sources.

“New models should not simply be used to outsource what was previously done in house. Instead, they should prompt companies to fundamentally reconsider what their core business model can look like in a talent-fluid future,” said Allison Bailey, a managing director, and senior partner at BCG.

Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work pursues research that business and policy leaders can put into action to navigate the complex, fast-changing nature of work.

The BCG Henderson Institute is Boston Consulting Group’s strategy think tank, dedicated to exploring and developing valuable new insights from business, technology, and science by embracing the powerful technology of ideas. The Institute engages leaders in provocative discussion and experimentation to expand the business theory and practice boundaries and translate innovative ideas from within and beyond business.

Founded in 1908, Harvard Business School (HBS) is part of Harvard University. The HBS faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to MBA and doctoral degrees and more than 70 open enrollment Executive Education programs. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, shaping the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.

Source: Harvard Business School (HBS)


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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 8:04 AM | Link to this Post

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