Flexible Staffing – the New Normal

Recent media articles and statistics point to three distinct clues that interim staffing solutions are the way of the future.


#1 The Workforce is Morphing into Something a lot more Fluid

While platforms like Airtasker might seem to be something of a novelty and unlikely to ever be considered mainstream, they are at the outer edges of a distinct trend in the world of work. Research from Deloitte University into 2015’s Global Human Capital Trends points towards things being a lot more fluid. This ‘Open Talent Economy’ or ‘gig economy’ brings with it massive changes in the nature of employee-employer relationships. Closer to home, the trends that jump off the pages of NBN Co’s new report ‘Super Connected Jobs: Understanding Australia’s Future Workforce’ are greater emphasis on part time, more flexibility, more agility, more women, longer careers and greater balance between work and lifestyle pursuits.

Flexible Staffing_the New Normal 2000 2030.png

#2 Roles are Getting Harder to Fill

Flexible Staffing the New Normal recruitment.jpg

While unemployment is on the rise in Australia, it is surprisingly tough to fill vacant positions. An article published in Recruitment International Australia earlier this year revealed some interesting stats, shown in the graphic on the left. The tricky part is to ensure that roles not filled within the first month don’t result in massive losses in productivity.

The stats show that if a vacant position is not filled after a month, employers are likely (44% so) to be left stuck for 3 months plus. If it’s any consolation, Australia is better off than many other markets. By world standards we’re still filling roles relatively quickly. Deloitte University produced the map below as an indicator of the global capability gap. While major initiatives to improve education and training across regions are always being called for, there are more modern and alternative solutions emerging. 

A recent story in the Sydney Morning Herald told of how high speed broadband has enabled a small local pattern making business owner to not only double her business in the last year, but to also triple the number of people who participate in her mentoring program. When you have a pressing resource requirement, the way to connect those who have the knowledge and the experience with those who need it immediately doesn’t always have to depend on a major industry skills program. It can just be about putting the right guru in the right place for a while.

 World map.jpg

#3 Older People are Getting Younger

This may sound odd but, on the basis of current life expectancy rates, today’s 65 year olds are more like the 58 year olds of the previous generation. The social researchers at McCrindle call them ‘downagers’ because they’re younger than their parents were at the same age.

Modern day Australians are living longer and have more to offer for a lot longer than any of us may have anticipated. There’s a lot of media hype about the challenges this presents, but the good news story is that all that wealth of knowledge and experience is available to be tapped.

Changing Expectations

So, even if you don’t think you’ll be freelancing via the share economy any time soon, increasingly people will come to expect that:

  • The ideal combination of skills for a particular task/project can be found and switched on and off as required.

  • Employer-employee relationships can potentially be more of a flexible partnership than a long term commitment.

  • Retirement will probably be a very gradual transition (rather than a sudden switch) from working to not working.

Companies that can show themselves to be resilient to the structural and technological changes that are taking place in the workplace will be well placed to thrive into the future. One way to do so is to partner with a trustworthy provider of mature resources.