Category Archives: Gig Economy

Are You Planning For Your Future Workforce?

Accenture’s strategy group has published an interesting look at the workforce of the future:  Harnessing Revolution, Creating the future workforce. At an easily consumable 28 pages, it focuses on three primary areas of emphasis for organizations wanting to get a competitive leg up in the hyper competitive talent markets:

  1. Accelerate reskilling people
  2. Redesign work to unlock human potential
  3. Strengthen the talent pipeline from its source

If you’re starting to discuss talent acquisition, development, and retention strategies with your C-Suite, you’re a little late – and this report will be helpful in scoping out the known and unknown challenges barreling down the pike.

The report is full of good news like data presented that show workers being optimistic about the impact that technology will bring to their work life:  “…instead of resenting technology, 84 percent report being excited about the changes it will bring. A full 87 percent are downright optimistic, projecting that it will actually improve their work experience in the next five years.” So that’s some good news we’ve haven’t seen before.

As an advocate for humans and humanity in the workplace, I was especially pleased to see an emphasis in the report on the value that human skills bring to the enterprise:  “our model shows fewer jobs will be lost to automation if people are able to reallocate their skills to tasks that require more ‘human skills’ such as complex analysis and social/emotional intelligence.” The following figure shows that perhaps the gross fears of automation and job eliminations may not be grounded in fact:

The challenge of job loss due to automation is clearly real. But as this report shares, reallocation of skills will significantly decrease job loss. Accenture’s research shows that investments in reskilling the workforce will “dramatically” reduce job loss: “Estimates for Europe show that a one percent increase in training days leads to a three percent increase in productivity, and that overall productivity growth attributable to training is around 16 percent.”

The section on focusing on reskilling people is short and sweet:

  1. Reskill at the top of the house
  2. Keep building on what you have
  3. Change the mindset to “learning as a way of life”
  4. Use digital to learn digital

While, paragraphs 2 – 4 are expected, paragraph 1 is not. Accenture’s research points to a lack of technology skill and experience in the boardroom. And from a leadership perspective, leading in horizontal rather than hierarchical ways will be foundational. Investing in additional skills at the top of the house could make or break your workforce planning outcomes.

There are lots of nuggets in this report. It’s a pretty quick read and the data sources include Accenture, of course, and the likes of the World Economic Forum, Manpower Group, ILO, OECD, Harvard Business Review, Pew Research Center, INSEAD and many others. Citing these sources is one of the reasons I really like the report. This isn’t the usual white paper.

If you’re really getting into the weeds of planning for your future workforce, this is a strong addition to your data sources. Not only is the report useful, but the list of source material could keep you going for weeks.

 

 

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Filed under Accenture, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Demographics, Future of Work, Generations at work, Gig Economy, HR Data, HR Trends, Human Capital, Strategic Workforce Planning, Talent Management, Workforce Demographics, Workforce Planning

Next Up On The Workforce Landscape: Independence Pass

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Independent Work:  Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy, published this week by the McKinsey Global Institute, is fascinating reading. If you’re in HR, Talent Acquisition or are a leader of people, you’ve probably been paying attention to the coverage of the “Gig Economy” or the “Contingent Workforce.” Mary Meeker wrote about it in this year’s Global Internet Trends report, and I wrote about it here. But this white paper really delves into the phenomenon of independent work and it’s hard to look away. The report is 148 pages of fun and the Executive Summary is a mere 24 pages. They both pack a punch with data and graphs galore. Let’s just focus on the Executive Summary. If you like that, you can dig even deeper into the full report.

The premise of looking at the why of independent working arrangements is quite compelling. We all know that there are people driving for Uber or Lyft because they can’t connect back to the world of full-time employment following the Great Recession. McKinsey calls them “Reluctants.” We also know there are lots of people driving for those organizations because they want to pick up some extra cash; they are the “Casual Earners.” The “Financially Strapped” are those who would never choose this arrangement but for their financial situation. But we’re also probably aware that there are more and more people in the economy who are choosing to be “Free Agents,” who are intentionally leaving traditional employment models behind and reveling in their freedom.

There are a number of insights here that are worth noting:

  • Independent work has three defining features: autonomy; payment by task, assignment, or sales; and a short term financial relationship.
  • 20-30% of working adults in the U.S. and the EU-15 are independent workers of one kind of another. That’s up to 162 million workers! (54-68 million of them in the U.S.)
  • Free Agents (independent by choice as a primary source of revenue) report greater satisfaction with their work lives than those in traditional jobs.
  • Currently only 15% of independent workers use digital platforms like Uber, Airbnb and Etsy – although their use is growing rapidly.
  • 1 in 6 workers in traditional jobs would like to become primary independent workers. (That’s your 1 in 6.)
  • Independent workers who sell goods (Etsy) or lease assets (Airbnb) are more likely to use digital platforms than those who provide labor services (TaskRabbit).

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The Executive Summary ends with a discussion of the future:  the impact of a continued shift toward independent work and noting that benefits, income security protection, and other worker protections need to be addressed. The stakeholders of these issues are not currently known to work well with each other, however policy makers, economic intermediaries and innovators, organizations and the workers themselves clearly need to work through critical dynamics to prepare consumers, employers, governments and workers to create a more workable framework for independent work success.

As you wonder which of the 16% of your workers is planning to step into the gig economy full-time and by choice, you may want to start addressing some cultural relics that are accelerating their choice to work independently. This report has some great data and insights to help you think it through.

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Filed under China Gorman, Contingent Workforce, Data Point Tuesday, Gig Economy, Independent Workers, McKinsey Global Institute

Of Job Seekers, Smartphones, and the Election

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Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation Study for 2016 is out. It’s always an interesting read. (Here’s my post on their 2015 survey.) And this year is no different. There is information on who’s looking, who’s not looking, who’s having a hard time finding a job and who isn’t. There are some fascinating data points. Like most vendor “research,” this report is easy to read and very attractively packaged.

The leading themes are these:

  • the state of work is in flux and today’s job seekers are adjusting to a new reality
  • job seekers are concerned in the short term but optimistic in the long run
  • while nearly 75% of all workers are satisfied with their jobs, two-thirds are still open to new employment
  • jobs in the gig-economy are part of the new normal
  • concern about jobs becoming obsolete due to technology is growing

Jobvite CEO, Dan Finnigan, introduces the report:

“These findings emphasize the fact that the way we look for work, and the way we work, is changing significantly. The gig economy’s rapid growth is remarkable and the data demonstrate that the modern job seeker is now more flexible than ever.”

Two survey areas really caught my attention. The first, reports survey answers that indicate the use of mobile devices in job search means job seeking behavior happens everywhere, all the time:

Jobvite 2016 1

You should no longer assume that colleagues active on their smartphones in meetings are playing games or reading their Facebook feed. They could very well be researching their next employer! Even more troubling is what is happening behind closed doors at the office or in the cubicle farm!

The second survey area that caught my eye, was the section on job seekers and the presidential election. (Not kidding.) As of early February when the survey was fielded, only three presidential candidates had double digit support from job seeker nation:  Hillary Clinton (23%), Donald Trump (21%), and Bernie Sanders (12%). Looking at the demographics of candidate support and then correlating that support to concern that automation will diminish their job/career opportunities is either brilliant or something else. But I found it fascinating:

Jobvite 2016 2

Just when you thought the election couldn’t intrude into any more corners of your life…! But the data are interesting. Look at the demographics and industry sectors. And Hillary supporters are way more concerned that robots will take their jobs than those who feel the Bern. Fascinating.

That’s why I always look forward to the annual Jobvite Job Seeker Nation report. They vary the questions enough to make the results and insights different from year to year, and certainly more relevant. Give the survey a read. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employment Data, Gig Economy, Human Capital, JobVite, Uncategorized

Working in the “Gig Economy”

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Last week I introduced you to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2015 report which I suggested should be required reading for HR. This report, which really should have been titled, The Internet in 2015 Is All About HR, shared important data points and analysis relating to basic HR functions and the impact the internet is having on basic organization functions.

This week, I’d like to point out the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, A Labor Market That Works: Connecting Talent With Opportunity in the Digital Age. Even if you only the read the Executive Summary, this is worth your time. It’s full of employment-related data from the major global economies as it links those statistics to the growing impact of online talent platforms – and their potential, in the gig economy, to transform both the employer/employee relationship and how workers find work and build economic opportunity. It’s important information and their analysis of (mostly) Linkedin data are arresting.

The report is organized into three broad topics: Better, fast matching; Economic impact; and Talent management for companies. All three topics could sustain a full report on their own, but I’ll focus on the second: Economic impact. The gig economy powered by online talent platforms, by their analysis, will be contributing $2.7 trillion to global GDP by 2025. They do the math by analyzing three channels of impact:

  • Increasing labor force participation and hours worked among part-time employees
  • Reducing unemployment
  • Raising labor productivity

McKinsey Exhibit 13 June 9 2015

This adds 72 million workers to the global workforce and adds a full 2% to the projected world GDP for 2025. The largest impact, $1.3 trillion, come from great labor participation and more hours worked. Shortening job searches and creating matches that would not have been otherwise will lower unemployment rates, creating the second biggest impact at $805 billion. The third biggest impact is the increase of productivity through higher quality job matches and a shift to formal employment from informal grows global GDP by $625 billion.

But their analysis also shows that the positive impact of the gig economy is greater than dollars as 540 million people (nearly 70% more than the current population of the United States) will benefit from these new ways of connecting workers to work. That’s big, right? And that’s only 10 years from now.

McKinsey Exhibit 14 June 9 2015

As an HR leader, are you concerned about the talent pipeline? Having trouble filling your current open positions? Wondering if the use of internet based solutions will produce better results? The real question may be, “how fast can I start implementing online talent platform solutions in order to connect workers to the work we have available?”

The report continues to make the economic case for the positive impact of internet enabled platforms by predicting their use could reduce public spending on labor market programs, allocating as much as $89 billion/year from unemployment benefits savings to education and vocational training programs to ensure a skilled talent pipeline. McKinsey also predicts that online talent platforms may increase innovation, strengthen productivity and generally “improve the development of human capital across economies.”

This is Big Data at its best: boiled down to useful constructs. The full report is 100 pages. I recommend that you download it and take it section by section. I think you’ll be glad you did.

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data and HR, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Gig Economy, HR Analytics, HR Data, McKinsey, Online Talent Platforms