13. May 2020

Could a Paradigm Shift be Coming to the Staffing Industry?

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An array of sectors and industries the world over has been undergoing seismic paradigm shifts in the last five years. We no longer “hail cabs”, instead we “ride-share” with apps like Uber and Lyft. “Booking a hotel” is quickly becoming an artefact of ancient history as we opt to sublet other’s unused living spaces with services like “Airbnb”. Even the concept of money itself is being shaken up by technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency.

All considered, it seems that the way we work, live, travel and holiday is being radically reimagined in new, more lean, convenient, streamlined – and profitable ways.

Surely, then, the staffing industry should expect to undergo a reinvention as well, no? It seems so. And due to a host of different factors.

Firstly, the economy itself is undergoing some major readjustments and redefinitions

More and more, the modern economy is becoming project-based. And not only project-based but also driven by freelancers who seek to tackle a solitary project, on their own terms, then move to a discretely different one, as they see fit.

We’ve begun calling this economy “the gig economy”. For obvious reasons. And due to the nature of those working in it (on a temporary, as-needed basis) – working on conditions that hitherto would have been deemed “temporary labour” – we’ve had to renegotiate what it means to be “employed”, or “temporarily employed” or even “out of work”. 

The lines between all three are blurring and perhaps these categories are revealing themselves to be antiquated, unsuited to modern working conditions.

In short, the very nature of the modern economy itself may be compelling a paradigm shift within the staffing and recruitment industry, whether we like it or not.

Then, there’s also the mindset of the modern Millennial worker to consider

To put it mildly, the current crop of workers entering the labour market are simply not mentally suited to the Monday through Friday 9-5. It’s a concept as alien to them as working 12-hour shift in a coal mine is the current batch of workers nearing retirement. 

Which is not to say that the Millennials, who form the backbone of the temporary labour force, are work adverse. They’re simply resistant to constant, consistent claims upon their time and their lives. Above all, they value self-ownership and the ability to say “yes” or “no” depending on their own particular whims.

This may be in part due to the values they’ve inherited from their parents as well the nature of the aforementioned gig economy. Either way, it represents an irregular workforce, even in terms of traditional temp labour, which was already quite irregular. 

Add to that the emergency of staffing apps…

You have a shakeup the size of which has never been experienced before in the staffing industry.

Now, HR managers, recruiters and staffing specialists can request labour on-demand, based on a variety of variable and qualities. And the labour can chose to respond as they so choose.

While this technology is still in its infancy, it’s destined to be adopted and implemented widely and resolutely. For two good reasons: It comports perfectly with the nature of the modern economy and corresponds beautifully with the novel and eclectic work ethics of the Millennial generation (while not even touching upon how seamlessly it also syncs with our current app-based culture!).

So what can we expect to see?

Simply, an acceleration of the current trend that has dominated all aspects the economy and our lives: the tendency towards on-demand solutions. 

With labour now available on an on-demand basis through staffing and recruitment apps, we can expect to see a greater abundance of (traditionally called) temporary workers cementing themselves on the “owners of their own time” and relying greater on staffing and scheduling apps which give them the ability to work as they see fit. And with more labour adopting such apps, we can expect to see firms implementing them at a similar pace in order to maintain access to these crucial labour markets