Professional gig economy booms as war for digital talent intensifies

1.6 million (28%) of UK businesses plan to hire temporary or contract staff in the next 12 months to plug skills shortages created by digitalisation.

  • 1.6 million (28%) of businesses plan to hire temporary or contract staff in the next 12 months to plug skills shortages created by digitalisation
  • Over half (53%) of CEOs are concerned about the significant lack of the digital skills in the UK talent market, as businesses battle to adapt to artificial intelligence (AI), automation and digitisation
  • Two fifths (38%) of UK businesses consider digitalisation to be the main evolving force in the workplace today

London UK, 13 November 2018 – 1.6 million1 (28%) UK businesses plan to hire temporary or contract staff in the next twelve months, as digitalisation and a lack of available talent creates critical skills gaps in the workplace, according to the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide

Technology is reshaping businesses; two in five UK organisations (38%) consider digitalisation to be the main evolving force in the workplace today. This shift has created demand for a new set of skills, such as DevOps, data visualisation, data management and analytics. While softer skills such as resilience, adaptability and critical thinking remain key characteristics in potential employees, a third (31%) of employers state that a candidate’s technical skillset is their most important consideration when making a new hire. 

C-Suite concerns 

Over half (53%) of CEOs admit they are concerned about the lack of digital skills in the current UK talent market, as businesses come under pressure to adapt to AI, automation and digitisation. This skills shortage is especially prevalent in the technology sector, which is estimated to have a 40,000-strong deficit in professionals with the technological qualifications needed to meet the demands of the UK economy2

These concerns are set to increase with the uncertainty of Brexit and the potential decrease to the skilled technology talent pool.

Businesses forced to adopt flexible recruitment strategies 

As businesses increasingly struggle to find the right talent at the right time, many are being forced to adopt more flexible recruitment strategies. This is driving a boom in short-term hires and contributing to the growth of the professional gig economy – the use of temporary or interim specialised staff on a short-term basis to fill skills gaps.

More than a third (38%) of UK businesses say short-term employees are currently filling skills gaps in their organisations. An additional 28% plan to hire temporary or contract staff in the next 12 months, with the top benefits cited as supporting long-term staff absence (35%), providing staffing flexibility (34%) and to act as a stopgap between permanent hires (32%). 

This agile recruitment strategy provides a short-to-medium term solution while business leaders invest in internal training to upskill their current workforce (17% plan to do so in the next year) or continue to look for new, permanent staff to help them achieve their future growth ambitions. 

Matt Weston commented: “An intensifying war for talent and business growth plans have provided a significant boost to the professional gig economy. UK businesses are increasingly turning to flexible recruitment strategies as a key solution to filling skills gaps within their organisation, as they invest in upskilling their current workforce and find permanent staff with the right blend of capabilities. In the interim, access to an immediate pool of specialist talent prevents costly project delays and helps businesses realise their potential and compete in an increasingly digital world. 

“Furthermore, flexible, strategic staffing models – those with a dynamic mix of permanent employees and highly-skilled temporary professionals – can provide companies of all sizes with the agility to quickly increase or decrease the size of their workforce based on workload demands and confidence amidst a backdrop of economic uncertainty.”

- ENDS -

 
Notes to editors

1 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy -- Business population estimates for the UK and regions 2018, 11 October 2018
2 Delivering STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills for the economy, National Audit Office, January 2018 

About the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide
Since 1950, Robert Half has produced Salary Guides to offer business owners, hiring managers and professionals information on prevailing starting salaries and insight into the latest employment trends. Companies consult the annual Salary Guide to determine appropriate remuneration for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, marketing and business support professionals at all levels.

Information in the Salary Guide is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations and placements managed each year by Robert Half's recruitment consultants, along with the company's ongoing surveys of executives. Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported because many external factors – such as seniority, work ethic, non-monetary benefits, job performance and training – impact the salaries of permanent professionals as work histories develop.

Download the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide

 

About Robert Half
Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, marketing and business support professionals. For more than 20 years, Robert Half has been named to FORTUNE® magazine’s list of “Most Admired Companies” and offers workplace and job seeker resources at:
roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.

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Roxan Mathys
Robert Half UK
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