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Really excellent post! Must have been a great session!!
1 week, 6 days ago on Get Behind These Six Trends or Get Left Behind
Krista, Great post and infographic. With technologies being global and so much tech talent residing outside of the US, how do you/Allegis assess the future role of online/virtual IT workers?" As the analyst covering online staffing platforms, I just have to ask that questions! Also see Sona Sharma's recent blog post:http://www.staffingindustry.com/Research-Publications/Blogs/Sona-Sharma-s-Blog/IT-staffing-firms-not-concerned-about-online-staffing Andrew
4 months ago on The Evolving IT Labor Market
Krista, Great post and infographic. With technologies being global and so much tech talent residing outside of the US, how do you/Allegis assess the future role of online/virtual IT workers?" As the analyst covering online staffing platforms, I just have to ask that questions! Also see Sona Sharma's recent blog post:http://www.staffingindustry.com/Research-Publications/Blogs/Sona-Sharma-s-Blog/IT-staffing-firms-not-concerned-about-online-staffing
Just my two cents, in response to your great question: I think we are a very, very earlier stage of making this work (even though we started to started to see early evolutionary forms of "human cloud platform elements/components" before the year 2000, and we are now seeing established "comprehensive human cloud platforms"). Human cloud platforms, in my opinion, are not arriving now at the finish line, they are just starting the race (to employ a rather inadequate metaphor). Going forward, as more worker/organization engagement occurs over these kinds of platform, platform types and designs will evolve--and the number of variables that will be in play is very large. I don't even want to note my list here--will be quite long. One of the variables that interests me a lot is "overall human experience" and UX design, which seems very connected to the variables we seem to see trending today--(a) verticalization of platforms and (b) worker curation/engagement.
4 months, 1 week ago on How Social Media Affects the Staffing Industry – Part 1
Steve, Excellent article. I like the way that you focus on how technology and the platforms enabled by it are impacting the staffing industry. You don't mistake buzz words for the underlying developments or cite divisive, myopic issues that keep us from seeing the forest for the trees. Technology-enabled platforms have been and are changing great swathes of whole industries. It's not clear why the labor or work arrangement intermediation (aka staffing) industry would somehow continue on isolated from these developments.
Spot on post, Kevin. I look forward to reading your book on this subject!!
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Coaching “Old School” Managers on the Benefits of Virtual Workers
Matthew, Good, important distinction. Enjoyed your recent article. Good to know this happening., Back in 2012, I was wondering when we would see this. When did you start?
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Looking for Purple Squirrels? Try a ‘MOOC’
Diane, Truly an excellent post that invites us to start the plumb the depths of the institutional/legal challenges and changes that lie ahead. Like a speeding train invisible around the bend, they are coming. I'll spare you the Johnny Cash quote. Andrew
11 months, 3 weeks ago on Crowdsourcing and the FLSA
@Matt Rivera @jlash @Jeffrey This is such a great discussion. Successful staffing intermediaries will be those that best meet their client's actual needs effectively, efficiently, and legally. Just because something can be accomplished technically (e.g. Napster) does not mean all stakeholders (with economic, legal, social rights and obligations) will be satisfied--that the model will be sustainable. All staffing intermediaries will have to adequately address and manage a range of logistical, economic, legal and institutional factors. I just want to clarify, once again, that we at SIA are simply pointing to the arrival a new technical model and means for addressing various segments of workforce demand, and we are trying to analyze and report on these developments. At the time of Napster bringing a revolutionary platform idea into the market, there was not an iTunes. But today, we have ample evidence of how platform models are transforming many different sectors in the economy (retail, financial services, travel,publishing)--as we drive by many closed Borders stores. So our point is that we really should put on our thinking caps and figure out how to capitalise on new oppoprtunities.
1 year, 2 months ago on Will Online Staffing “Rock” the Staffing World?
@Jeffrey Leventhal @jlash This will certainly be an ongoing conversation about an ongoing set of developments. It seems to me that, like the industry parallels Jeff cites, the emergence of platform models in staffing and workforce management areas will continue on a significant course, with legal and institutional, business and behavioral evolution. It is a possible that an iceberg of some sort (e.g. http://www.crowdsourcing.org/editorial/the-lawsuit-that-could-help-undo-or-cement-crowdsourcing-in-the-us/22968) could sink the fleet, but I think we will see (and I am seeing) a broad set of firms with different approaches adapting to opportunities and constrains and finding their niches or larger market segments.
1 year, 2 months ago on Speaking English Can Leave You Positively Knackered
Just out, Irene Ng's "Value & Worth: Creating New Markets in the Digital Economy," http://www.amazon.com/Value-Worth-Creating-Markets-ebook/dp/B00ARK1LSI, addresses new value creation (uncovering new needs and service innovation possibilities) in the digital era.
1 year, 2 months ago on The Value Process
@jlash Something we all agree upon! :-)
1 year, 3 months ago on Will Online Staffing “Rock” the Staffing World?
@jlash @Mollie Carter Jay, I would just like to set the record straight on your assertion here abot "SIA and their view on the space," the "idea that it is a threat to temp staffing as we know it." Respectfully, your assertion is incorrect. We do not see online staffing as a "theat to temp staffing as we know it." In our research (three reports thus far), we have sought to educate staffing firms about this segment, and we have discussed what we see as three threats and three opportunities for staffing firms. Two of the threats are about "not being aware" (based in our survey findings) and about "misunderstanding" online staffing. The third threat was for the potential for some market share/revenue encroachment, particularly in certain staffing segments such as IT/software development. In no way have we expressed that there is "a threat to temp staffing as we know it" (and which will surely evolve over time). On the opportunity side of the ledger, we have pointed out that online staffing will result in market expansion and that the innovative platform models of online staffing firms should be looked at carefully as sources of innovative models and practices (to a greater or lesser extent) that could be adopted and integrated into staffing firm businesses over the next 5++ years. That said, I agree with your assertion that online staffing signals and will sigificantly promote the continuing growth in "non-permanent jobs" and the continued erosion of so-called "permanent."
It is very interesting to consider that one of the reasons workers are turning to online platforms is that it it easier for them to get and perform work. The traditional hiring process is often opaque to work demands, and often inefficient and downright obstructionist.
1 year, 3 months ago on Why Today’s Contingents Are Moving Online
Good points about online staffing platform experience/value on the client and the contractor sides.
Thank you for writing this post--it's excellent, and I am so pleased to have this discussion and thought process taking flight.
I'm not sure if you were aware, but we covered online staffing in yesterday's webinar focusing on our two latest reports on the subject: " “Online Staffing:” What Is It, What’s Driving It, What Does It Mean For Staffing Firms?"(http://www.staffingindustry.com/Research-Publications/Research/Staffing-Sales-Marketing-Market-Opportunities/Online-Staffing-What-Is-This-Beast) and ""Online Staffing" Platforms: Threats and/or Opportunities for Other Staffing Businesses" (http://www.staffingindustry.com/Research-Publications/Research/Staffing-Other-Staffing-Services/Online-Staffing-Threats-Opportunities).
We are now providing some research coverage of this developing industry segment because it is a now substantial and growing segment that may have some disruptive and transformative impacts across the staffing ecosystem. Just to be clear, we do not project that "online staffing" will lead to a cataclysm in other staffing industry segments (many different types of workforce intermediation businesses including PEO, temp staffing, and IC management companies like MBO, et al). We also do not define "online staffing" models as dealing only with freelancers or highly transient contract workers (though as you and others (http://www.kellyocg.com/Knowledge/KellyOCG_Blog/The_Shift_to_Highly_Skilled_Temporary_Work/) point out, more work arrangements of this sort will likely be happening; nor do we define online staffing as only addressing remotely performed work.
By and large, I think our view of online staffing is consistent with much of what you represent in your blog post: a new segment, a new way of structuring work arrangements and matching demand and supply. The segment seems primed for high growth and adaptation, along side other staffing industry segments (with the possibility of some competition for market share, some opening of new opportunities for some today-less-online staffing firms).
Where our views may diverge are at the beginning and conclusion of your post. First, extending the questionable "adolescent boy" analogy (and I do have a 16 year old one of these at home), I don't think we here are girl-crazy and overheated by online staffing. We just think online staffing is one work arrangement intermediation segment that should be noted and understood. Second, we do think that other firms in the staffing ecosystem should pay attention to online staffing and really understand clearly what is about, what it's not, what it means, etc.
I personally think that one of the really important things to understand about online staffing is it being essentially a "platform business model" which allows it to address "work arrangement markets" in new ways (a big topic). Once again, such innovative developments can have both distruptive consequences or suggest new opportunity pathways. I do believe that many innovations being introduced by online staffing firms today can and will be absorbed into many adaptive, but "today-less-online," staffing firms and used to drive competitive advantages.
Our perspective is to analyze developments in the industry/ecosystem and try to point out those that seem relevant, have potential impact, present possible opportunities. Besides online staffing models, another new-comer to the work arrangement intermediation space is "crowdsourcing"--while we are keeping an eye on this, we are not devoting research efforts to it at this time (still emerging, not maturing like online staffing). While we think "crowdsourcing" should not go unnoticed, we do think "online staffing" merits more attention span and analysis at this stage (we don't advise ignoring it and plowing ahead without factor it into planning).
In any case, great discussion on one of many important developments in and on the fringe of the staffing ecosystem. Thank you!
PS. If anyone is interested in a pretty good "business book" introduction the general phenomenon of "platform business models," I would suggest Phil Simon's "The Age of the Platform" http://www.theageoftheplatform.com/ (accessible and quick read that does not get into the extensive "economic/management science literature" on platforms).
Definitely a topical post. The McKinsey study has a lot of important cautions and heads-ups, such as this one: "New technology platforms and capabilities are clearly creating new opportunities at manydifferent levels within organizations. We often see business executives experimenting with these platforms outside of IT’s awareness or permission. Given the proliferation and potential importance of these platforms, IT executives must shift from being gatekeepers to being enablers and service managers—guiding, supporting, and assisting their colleagues in
these experiments to ensure that corporate policies, data security, or risk guidelines are not endangered." This is one argument I made in an earlier SIA report on the vortext of new talent acquisition technology applications that staffing firms are now navigating: http://www.staffingindustry.com/site_member/Research-Publications/Blogs/Andrew-Karpie-s-Blog/A-Staffing-Firm-s-Strategic-Guide-to-the-Universe-of-Talent-Acquisition-Technology-TAT
1 year, 7 months ago on Agility on a Tightrope
I still tend to believe that as platforms broaden/flatten labor markets, average contractor market rates would fall at first (unless the platform is able to bring previously inaccessible high skilled labor into a rapidly growing market--which in fact such platforms are doing in some cases). But, as I think John Horton is pointing out, they can also become "opportunity lattices" (especially if learning is possible). What's more they needn't be simply a spot market for decomposed labor/talent (as in some crowdsourcing models), but rather platforms that connect embodied talent/skill and those who will value and us it. Whole interesting important discussion. But I'd like to come back to the original focus of the post: the impact of emerging online work platforms on existing staffing industry structure(s).The interesting question seems to me how over the next 1-5-10 years the buyers/employers, the talent/skills, and the staffing specializing service intermediaries will evolve as increasingly powerful and geographically pevasive online labor platforms continue to emerge (something which started with job boards over 10 years ago). I don't see this emergence of online work platforms as only creating a distinct labor market for online work, Platforms like oDesk are only single instances of onliine workforce platforms that are and will be created. Platforms for intermediating and establishing work arrangements can extend to construction workers, truck drivers, et al. Moreover, platform scope can be increased as well (beyond being labor spot markets) to being "opportunity lattices" for nuturing and developing skilled workforce over longer relationship-development life-cycles. Institutional inertia will slow this process, but sometimes there are tipping points that we just don't see coming.
1 year, 7 months ago on Online Sourcing Enhances Staffing
Vikram, what you say about wage rates seems to be supported by at least one study I know of: March 2012 research paper by Ajay Agrawal, et al, “How Do Online Platforms Flatten Markets for Contract Labor?“ http://andrewkarpie.com/wordpress/?p=1270. However, the question/issue you raise could apply to any labor market, online or not. In any case, there has to be some equilibrium where workers have an adequate level of living to keep working, subject to other societal values being imposed/embraced--that's a very big, complex issue (socially, politically, economically). It is certainly one question that applied to online work platforms (just as it does, once again, to labor markets in general). As to online work platforms, I think there are also many other important questions, besides this social/regulatory one, regarding transparency, transaction costs, effects on amounts of work performed/workers employed, at what costs. To me a major question is in this area: initiallly online work platforms "atomize" the workforce (independents, free-lancers) whose value creation and earning potential is limited by their own resources (scaling is limited). Will these work platforms evolve to support not just efforts of individuals, but the collaboration of individuals and the formation of multi-individual valaue creating entities that can scale and increase their market power as suppliers of labor/value. @andrewkarpie