Whether it’s called The Great Resignation, The Great Realisation, The Big Quit or any of the many other terms lent to this trend in the labour market, one thing is certain – people are burned out and quitting their jobs at a pace that hasn’t been seen in decades.
The world is upon its two-year pandemic anniversary – we’re living through a period where people don’t know what their lives will look like in a month, a week or sometimes even a day. This uncertainty is forcing them to re-evaluate their relationship with their work. Does what they do interest them? Does it give them purpose? Does it allow them to spend time with their families? Does it give them the flexibility they’re looking for? Are they being compensated fairly? All these factors are being taken into consideration. People around the world have spoken, and the answer to these questions in many cases has been a resounding “no”.
In December 2021, there were roughly 1.3 million job vacancies in the UK. From July to September, around 400,000 people quit their jobs. This is up from 270,000 in the same period in 2019. Last year was the first time since the 1990s that the workforce got smaller. And people aren’t necessarily jumping for joy at the prospect of finding a new job. This is making it massively difficult for companies to find talent – once always there and ready to work, much of the workforce is simply not interested anymore. According to a recent survey from Fiverr of more than 2,000 workers based in the UK, more than a third (35 per cent) of respondents said their company is struggling to recruit/find staff.
Part of the problem is that the way companies think about their workforce has traditionally been in the form of an employer/employee relationship. And yet 2020 brought on not just a global pandemic, but a global reckoning about what work in the future should look like. Businesses need to address this notion that people don’t want to work in the same way they have been for decades. They need to think differently about their hiring practices and the best ways to move their business forward.
Enter freelance talent. The pandemic led to an explosion in the freelance workforce, as millions of highly educated, skilled professionals decided not to return to full-time employment, even when the opportunity presented itself. Instead, they chose the freedom and flexibility that comes with freelancing. And with millions of skilled freelancers around the world vying for contract- or project-based work, they are the perfect solution to fill in talent gaps during this time.
Freelancers don’t resign
They were never full-time employees to begin with. When bringing on freelance talent, there’s no need to waste time on interviews, vetting or guessing games. And even easier than a request for proposal (RFP) process, where department heads need to listen to and evaluate pitches from people often gathered through word-of-mouth recommendations, platforms such as Fiverr Business are designed to demonstrate everything about specific freelancers or agency teams up front. They allow for complete and total integration into existing team and department structures. The platform takes care of everything. And the best part is, if the freelancer helping with the project is not available anymore, or does not want to continue with the work, there are thousands more at the click of a button.
Agile workforces are the workforces of the future
In Managing the Future of Work, researchers at Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute, found that 90 per cent of companies surveyed see a future competitive advantage in shifting their talent model to a blend of full-time and freelance employees. This shift in perspective is likely due, in part, to the pandemic mindset that many white-collar workers were forced to adapt to – the idea that remote work is the new norm and companies have to remain flexible. Managers have built up their confidence in managing remote teams; this, in turn, has led to an increase in understanding how freelance talent can help. By embracing a flexible work model, both internally and externally, they can speed up operations and deliver faster on strategy, while at the same time adapt quickly to changing environments.
By embracing a flexible work model, companies will not only be able to fill the skills and talent gaps they currently have in their workforce, they will find that it will help them improve efficiency and scale quickly, all while maximising their costs and output. Digital talent platforms such as Fiverr Business are making it possible for companies to be adaptive, flexible and able to respond in real time to changing market and environmental factors.