Key skills to seek from your contract employees

The global workforce has been trending more in the direction of being a gig- and contract-based worker economy than one dominated by traditionally salaried staff for quite some time now. According to a September 2019 survey conducted by HR services firm Randstad N.V., approximately 1 in 4 responding companies – all of which were globe-spanning or midsize enterprises – said that they actively planned to move roles they had classically reserved for full-time staff to contractors whose terms of work would be finite.

Taking various economic realities of 2020's first quarter into account, it seems unlikely that this practice will trend any way but up for the foreseeable future. Organizations that are still not fully transitioned to this new model of hiring should take the time to familiarize themselves with primary facts of the contingent-work trend and also determine which skills they need the most out of contract workers in managerial or other high-powered roles. 

Looking at the gig economy's scope and value 
In a 2018 report, Staffing Industry Analysts President Barry Asin identified that the worldwide gig economy had been worth approximately $3.7 trillion in 2017 – an uptick from $3.5 trillion a year earlier. After another year passed, that figure had jumped all the way up to $4.5 trillion, per the most recent data available from SIA. Although economic circumstances in early 2020 are – generally speaking – uncertain to say the least, contract and contingent positions will likely continue growing as businesses look to cut costs. As such, in all likelihood, the value of gig economy will be well over $5 trillion by the time 2020 is all said and done.

Project management abilities in the highest demand 
It's critical not to forget that many of the businesses seeking contract labor aren't doing so with the aim of filling entry-level positions, but rather to place talented individuals into associate and middle-managerial roles. This is reinforced by the fact that project management is the most in-demand skill companies are looking for among the independent workers they are considering for their open gigs, according to HR Dive.

While project management can certainly mean something entirely different to one company than it does to another simply due to differences in industries, the general conclusion to draw from this is clear: Businesses want to know that they will be able to slot an experienced professional into a role where leadership is essential and be confident that the person they have chosen will carry out such supervisory duties with as much acuity and effort as a long-term salaried staffer. 

Analysis as precious commodity 
HR Dive noted that market analysis was the skill in second-highest demand among companies on the lookout for contract workers in 2020. There are more than a few interesting takeaways to be had here: The phrase "market analysis" might have some minds jumping to thoughts of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and its various counterparts on Wall Street and elsewhere in the world – and that's certainly what some businesses want when they use the term.

However, broadly speaking, the demand for this skill is indicative of a need for contract staff to be forward-thinking and possessed of the ability to view organizational concerns from a big-picture perspective, especially in fields like tech and health care. No one is expecting anyone to predict the future, of course, but it makes sense why a knack for projecting beyond the now and not letting their vision be overly influenced by the status quo is widely desired.

Desire for process optimization 
The next area of expertise on the list cited by HR Dive was process optimization and transformation. This, like market analysis, can have multiple interpretations: Generally speaking, process optimization refers to increasing efficiency throughout a business in multiple ways, as Heflo noted, by identifying areas of resource misuse or wastage and finding creative workarounds that eliminate the superfluous and bolster the essential. The addition of "transformation" to the description of the skill almost certainly speaks to the desire for digital transformation, which can tie into process optimization in various ways: automating various business functions, managing data and analytics more efficiently, increasing connectivity through broader IoT implementation and more.

The ongoing talent search
There have historically been fairly few sure things in business throughout most of modern economic history, but in 2020 it sometimes seems like there have never been fewer certainties than right now. You need talent experts you can trust when seeking out the best contractors to fill key roles at your organization, and Marchon Partners has the expertise and experience to help you find the ideal talent for your most pressing staffing requirements.