U.S. companies are also leveraging skilled independent professionals to be more innovative, cost-effective and access specialized skills, according to a recently released Upwork report.
Despite the robust job market, companies still face a historically difficult hiring landscape. The number of available job seekers continues to fall, while the number of Americans leaving their jobs remains at the highest level in 20 years, and 60% of hiring managers say it is difficult to find quality talent to fill open positions. Upwork’s seventh annual “Future Workforce Report”.
While layoffs have slowed slightly since the peak, nearly half (43%) of companies said: the great layoff has negatively impacted their organization, the 2022 report finds.
In addition, the severity of the impact varied based on the level of: remote work flexibility. For example, remote-first organizations were least likely to be negatively impacted (31% negatively impacted), especially when compared to remote-day (55% negatively impacted) or on-site-first organizations (49% negatively impacted).
To try the continued impact of the great layoff, companies use different tactics. The most frequently mentioned steps were more flexibility in scheduling, higher reimbursements, and more options for remote working.
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IT and network roles are among the hardest to fill
The hunt for talent remains fierce for companies. Companies are experiencing the compounding impact of those who quit as part of the Great Resignation and others who change positions and take advantage of the high volume of job opportunities in the US
As a result, companies struggle to fill roles while also trying to re-engage those who leave. When asked about their ability to hire people, 60% said it is currently difficult to find quality talent to fill vacancies.
However, companies that deploy independent talent as a core part of their workforce strategy feel better equipped to fill key roles, find the right talent and skills, and withstand disruption compared to those that don’t.
While recruiting is challenging across the board, hiring managers also noted that they expect hiring in some categories of work to be particularly difficult. Responding hiring managers said they believe data science and analytics positions will be the hardest to hire (60%), followed by architecture & engineering (58%) and IT & networking (58%).
This battle to find talent may not end anytime soon, but some companies are using a different script for success: freelance talent.
“If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that an adaptive workforce strategy is essential,” Tony Buffum, VP of HR client strategy, Upwork, said in a statement. “Companies that deploy independent talent are already seeing the benefits of embracing a more adaptable strategy. Our research shows that not only are they more optimistic about the challenging hiring landscape, but they are also more confident in their company’s ability to respond to disruptions, be it economic, geopolitical or other global market forces.”
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Freelancers help companies solve the talent shortage
Nearly 80% of hiring managers who hire skilled freelancers said they are confident (78%) they can find the talent they need, compared to just 63% of those who don’t hire freelancers.
The report states that independent talent provides access to specialized skills: Of those who hire freelancers, 85% said working with independent professionals gives them access to talent with specialized skills or expertise. The report went further and also explained:
- Independent talent unlocks innovation: 79% of companies agreed that working with independent talent makes their business more innovative.
- Organizations working with independent talent are more confident in withstanding turmoil: Of hiring managers who use freelancers, 84% said they are confident in their company’s ability to respond to disruptions, compared to 69% of those who don’t use freelancers.
- Use of skilled independent professionals ready to accelerate: Nearly 60% of hiring managers who hire independent talent said they plan to hire in the next six months (58%) and the next two years (66%).
Upwork said that between April 25, 2022 and May 10, 2022, more than 1,000 U.S. hiring managers were surveyed through a third-party, independent online sample.