Oh, what a difference a decade makes. Flashback to 2007. The housing bubble had just burst, followed soon after by the banking crisis, ushering in The Great Recession. An unimaginable 8 million+ jobs were shed between 2008 and 2010, with unemployment peaking at 10% in 2009. A veritable nightmare.
And now, here we sit facing the possibility of full employment. Even though fewer jobs were created this month than were expected, the job market remains strong, with open jobs outnumbering the labor available to fill them. At the same time, temporary workers saw the second highest gains in two years.
While the tight labor market certainly encourages interest in temporary, freelance and contract workers, we also believe that freelancing as a deliberate career choice is here to stay. When I launched 24 Seven in 2000 as a firm representing highly-skilled freelance fashion talent, it was a pioneering concept. Today, we represent freelance talent across the expertise and seniority level within a range of creative-based sectors. There are more companies than ever incorporating freelancers into their talent management mix – whether it’s to shore up teams during seasonal peaks, or when building out a new business or to cover for employees on leave. It’s a smart strategy too, in times of general talent shortages to fill crucial full-time roles – very often our freelancers are converted to full-fledged employees, with both talent and company able to “try before they buy” the employment match. But more and more, our freelancers are in the gig economy for the long term, viewing it as a viable career option that is both financially and professionally rewarding.
On the full-time hiring side, employers are quickly learning that under the current labor market conditions, highly-skilled and specialized workers have the upper hand. This is no time to gamble on talent, dragging out the recruiting, interviewing and vetting process. It’s common in today’s market for the most in-demand talent to be considering multiple offers, with employers conducting bidding wars not just on their compensation package, but soft perks as well. Nothing’s off the negotiation table: generous vacation time, higher education reimbursement, remote work options, daycare stipends, and more. We see the greatest demand for digital skills across the Marketing spectrum, for Design talent (product, graphic, and digital), for e-commerce, and for analytics of all flavors.
To learn more about how to incorporate freelancers into your talent mix click here and to learn more about why employers who move swiftly in this job market are winning the war for talent, download our position paper here.