Even as the labor market continues to be transformed by technological innovation, it is arguably human labor that will be the differentiating asset for businesses globally. In fact, many analysts argue that talent will establish itself as the key to competitiveness, growth and innovation. Whereas in the past the essential element was always capital, in our current landscape, it is talent that’s holding the cards.
Companies around the world are eager to hire capable talent to gain that all-important competitive edge, as it becomes increasingly clear that technology nor capital alone can get them there. Furthermore, the pandemic radically changed the labor market, opening the door to remote working and breaking down the barriers to global talent. We are thus living in the transitional era from capitalism to talentism.
This is no new development. Since the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, capital and labor have been in a struggle for power. Workers knew factory productivity depended on their labor and organized into unions, which were promptly castigated by capital. With the arrival of neoliberalism, it appeared that capital had sealed its victory over workers. Industrial prowess gave way to managerial dominance, and a new managerial class of professionals that advanced globalization and the neoliberal agenda, eventually ushering in the Information Age: a landscape where information, data and knowledge generate more value than actual products. This is where the struggle moved its focus from capital and labor to capital and talent. Since the ’90s, talent assets have become even more valuable than capital assets, they are now the key factor to success.
A war for talent is currently raging. Demand for talent, these producers of value, is exceeding supply. Companies are grappling to engage top talent, with technology sometimes advancing faster than they are able to acquire the skill sets they need to keep pace. Talent knows they are on top: They demand better pay, benefits and flexibility. They don’t even need to stay committed to a single employer, and as such, freelancing is booming. The pandemic set this tendency on fire. There is now a huge and diverse pool of freelance workers all over Europe and North America. Both young and experienced talent is recognizing the excellent opportunities in the increased demand for their knowledge. In a survey conducted by Outvise, 90% of freelancers reported feeling extremely satisfied with their jobs, most declaring they would not return to a regular work environment. The freedom and flexibility they enjoy are simply unmatched, and many times so are the fees they demand.
How can companies hold their own? If talentism is the rule of the land, companies need to keep a talent pool that is as wide and diverse as possible. How can they achieve this? A simple answer is online talent platforms which offer end-to-end services: first applying a rigorous vetting process for each professional, verifying their expertise, using an advanced algorithm to match them with appropriate projects and communities, and even taking care of the necessary paperwork. The cost of the process next to traditional hiring is also incomparable; with many talent platforms, the client pays a freelancer’s fee and a small commission once the project has been completed. The goal is to deploy freelance talent with maximum efficiency, keeping experts on hand so they can be called as needed for different projects.
As we cruise the era of talentism, companies must focus on finding and attracting their greatest assets: experts. These experts need to be the best possible fit for their projects in a labor pool in which demand far exceeds supply. They must embrace the hiring of freelance talent and collaborate with specialized freelance talent platforms that can help them cover their talent needs, often in a matter of hours.