The Great Resignation is far from over. According to a study of 1,000 hiring managers in the US, 60% are struggling to find quality talent needed to fill open roles, with many now turning to freelance workers to bridge the growing skills gap.
According to Upwork's most recent Future Workforce Report, 56% of companies that hire freelance workers hired freelancers at an increased rate within the last year. Companies are seeking out skilled independent workers to fill empty positions to compensate for the ongoing loss of talent, particularly in data science, accounting, and IT departments.
Many companies are still feeling the burn of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on job trends. The ongoing tendency for workers to quit their jobs in search of better opportunities is persistent, and tech workers have proved particularly difficult to hire.
Hiring managers surveyed by Upwork said data science and analytics roles would be the hardest to hire for over the next six months (60%), followed by architecture and engineering (58%), and IT & networking (58%).
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Upwork's study found that the rate companies acquire new hires depends on whether workers can do their jobs remotely. Resignations negatively impacted only 31% of companies that offer a remote work environment, compared to 49% of organizations where workers were required to work on-site.
As a result, more employers are offering increased schedule flexibility and remote work options to help them attract talent and meet their staffing needs, the survey found.
Freelance workers may be more critical to businesses than the other way around. Upwork's study found that almost 80% of companies that contract freelance work find that these independent workers make their companies more innovative. Freelance workers offer expertise and a fresh perspective that companies would not have access to otherwise, respondents said.
Upwork's report found that 84% of companies that used independent or freelance workers were confident in their company's ability to withstand a disruption outside of their control, compared to only 69% of companies that do not use freelance workers.
"Businesses that engage independent talent are already seeing the benefits of embracing a more adaptable strategy," said Tony Buffum, VP of HR client strategy, Upwork.
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"Our research shows that not only are they more optimistic about the difficult hiring landscape, but they also feel more confident in their company's ability to respond to disruption, be it economic, geopolitical, or other global market forces."