According to a report from McKinsey Global Institute in major countries around the world, 30% to 45% of the working population is unemployed or working part-time. Many people struggle to find work, even if some sectors like healthcare or tech find really hard to fill open job positions.
Digital Talent platforms´ objective is to connect freelance workers with companies and individuals who require their skills. These type of platforms are growing really rapidly, nearly a 31% of employers recently surveyed by REC (UK) said that they have used them in the past 12 months. Mckinsey talks about the positive impact they can have on the labour market but some critics are also warning of poor-quality work and low pay.
Which digital talent platforms are they referring to?
- Platforms that enable people to find jobs: LinkedIn, Monster.com, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Xing, Vault and Glassdoor
- Platforms that matches services or workers to demand like Uber, TaskRabbit, Angie’s List, Upwork and Amazon Home Services.
- Platforms for talent discovery and management like good.co, payscale and ReviewSnap.
Most of these talent platforms are for knowledge workers but large-scale labour market platforms for blue-collar workers are growing as well.
Pros and Cons of these platforms
- Kevin Green REC´S Executive “They give SME access to the global skills market for the first time” “ Workers can work flexibility and are in charge of their own pricing mechanisms”
- James Manyika, director of the McKinsey Global Institute “These platforms make a big improvement,” “People can express preferences for work and employers can find the workers they need.”
- Chris Bryce, Chief executive of the Association of Independent professionals and the Self-Employed “The biggest concern if you are a freelancer is where the next contract is coming from. Platforms provide more avenues for freelancers to find work that suits t hem”
However critics are also warning that employers have the choice of setting a fixed price for a project or inviting people to pitch for the work and set their own price, make it easier for organisation to pay less for work. Dr Sharon Parry, a writer and blogger “I got paid £1000 to write a training course but I do see ridiculous things like £3 for a 700 word article”.
Manyika describes another benefits to these platforms, being one of them the enhanced productivity and fluidity or the ability to move between jobs. “There is a strong correlation between labour market fluidity and increase in wages”. Also people will need to take in consideration their ability to reflect reputation, word of mouth recommendation has been part of the employment process. Coding them into digital platforms open up to a broader audience. “A reliable nanny may not have a certificate but hundreds of positive reviews”
The countries that could benefit the most from these marketplaces, are Greece, Spain and South Africa, as well as those where informal, or unregulated, employment is common.
In conclusion, although they seem an attractive opportunity for freelancers and even for full time employees -eager to earn some extra money- there are some issues that need to be solved; low wages, the power of contractors, how the profits are shared between the platform and the advertiser, liability…
Mckensey report indicates that to capture the benefits, regulatory frameworks, corporate practices and individual mind-sets will have to change, along with technology.
Have you ever used a digital talent platform to find work or to recruit for a specific project? What´s your opinion on this topic?
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