The rise of the on-demand talent economy

7th May 2017

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The disruption to today’s workforce by companies such as Uber and Deliveroo has led to what economists have classed as the ‘Gig Economy’. With there being an upsurge in the number of workers taking on short-term work roles, this has made a vital contribution to the UK economy and commentators have predicted that by 2020, 50% of the UK workforce will be self-employed.

Still a prevalent term that isn’t just pigeon holed to the flexi-student workers looking for the odd bit of pocket money to supplement their studies, we have also seen another term emerge with the number of freelance and self-employed workers rising. That is the ‘On-Demand Talent Economy’, a workforce change that holds similarities to the Gig Economy, but is tapping into the changing landscape of employment today in terms of employee aspiration, technology advancement, changing work culture and the ever changing demands of today’s work place, plus much more.

Today, talent is everything. Thanks to the continual rise in tech start-ups, employees have recognised themselves with their unique skill-sets as valuable commodities, and so are highly sought after by today’s employers. Hiring managers need top talent now, not later, and are looking to find ways to capture this talent on tap so they can call on its services anytime.

But what have been the driving factors that have led to this On-Demand Talent Economy being coined as a phrase, and why should recruiters invest in learning more about it?

Goodbye 9 to 5, hello freelance!

As briefly touched upon earlier, we’re seeing a dramatic change in the number of people going freelance or self-employed. This can be attributed to the changing attitude to full-time employment with more and more people wanting to ditch the 9 to 5 and shape their own future as a self-employed worker.

Where working for yourself and being your own boss is of course most people’s dream, this type of freedom it offers is not always the main inspiration for this. Where tradition would have full-time workers start with a company and work their way up the corporate ladder, this path holds no interest for today’s workers. With their thirst for diversity and the flexibility that freelancing can offer, they constantly seek new opportunities that challenge and develop them, rather than rely on a long-term employer to do this.

The workplace is moving…fast!

We’re seeing rapid change in the modern work place with workflows, trends and procedures changing all the time. Coupled with the general work demand that companies deal with day to day, and continual progression of technology – places of work are having more immediate needs to deal with and having to show versatility and flexibility to these changes. With procurement and HR costs also having to adapt and demonstrate leanness, there’s been a need for instant and remote talent that can act with more immediacy and without borders. Companies not always having the resource to grow their in-house team long-term because of office space expense and company expense (pensions, benefits, etc), has led to more short-term hires to work on projects that require instant attention. Added to that the expense and time a company might incur for training a long-term employee, it has made sense for companies to move with the times and adapt accordingly.

The new worker

Millennials, Generation Z, the youth of today…whatever you want to call them, we’ve seen a new breed of worker emerge alongside the ongoing changes in modern work places. Their outlook is far different than your average candidate twenty years ago. They know they are an in demand product and for this they know they have influence over recruiters and hiring managers. They have become then, more picky over job selection and grown tiresome of long-winded job application processes. They know that they have the appropriate skill set and experience for positions, so why would they want to waste time filling out long arduous forms and creating lengthy cover letters? We’ve seen then more platforms that are leveraging this trend and providing a more seamless experience for candidates with certain platforms allowing you to apply, be accepted and receive a start date for a position all within a small amount of time and all through the click of a button.


Technology arguably has to be the key driving factor to this new connected world of employment we now inhabit. It’s instantaneous quality has allowed employers to connect and hire people from all across the globe and communicate to them with ease. Technology has removed processes and borders and created a rapidly growing economy of talent that can be utilised anywhere in the world.

It has given many individuals the tools to be their own boss and as technology advances, we are destined to see more and more people become a part of the growing on-demand talent economy.

VP of Marketing at online voice-over marketplace Alina Morkin, comments how technology has allowed companies to harness talent in collaborative ways and from anywhere in the world: “We find that talent has to move at the speed of production. It’s not happening in a single location any more – many different people are involved, and they’re spread across the world. With that, getting a job done is no longer geography-dependent, but, rather, time-zone dependent, which technology has enabled a solution to. Technology supports the on-demand talent economy by giving buyers of that particular skill direct access to the exact talent they need, no matter where they are or what time of day it is. In this same economy, there is no longer a 9-5 business hour – talent need to be able to respond to a request immediately, or otherwise a competitor will.”

Why not be a part of this growing on-demand talent economy and pre-register as a contractor with iContract, the new online platform that connects contractors with recruiters. Launching soon, the platform allows contractors to find relevant contract opportunities tailored to their profile, as well as expand their professional network and connect with like-minded professionals. Pre-register for free here