As we come to the end of our 5th birthday month, here's my five personal musings and observations from that time frame, with a little look forward for you to enjoy.
1. The workforce ecosystem is complex, and talent marketplaces are still building their place.
One of the most exciting parts of my role since Talmix began, has been becoming immersed in understanding the complexities and nuances of the workforce ecosystem. And during that time, talent marketplaces have been positioned as disrupting consultancies (see below), spelling the end of recruitment agencies, staffing firms, and many other far-fetched notions.
The truth is simpler: talent marketplaces fit comfortably within the supplier ecosystem and provide rapid and direct engagement to the increasing independent workforce and the skills that they carry with them.
I’m confident that we’ve crossed the chasm; moving up the adoption curve is going to take a realistic approach to showing the value of both the extended workforce, and the routes to engage with it. This will give marketplaces a key and valuable place within the workforce strategy of businesses worldwide and move from ad-hoc use in project teams, to centralised management and visibility within a mainstream programme.
2. Talent Marketplaces are complementary and not competitive to Consulting Firms.
Talent marketplaces like Talmix have become the preferred route for many ex-consultants to drive their freelance careers, and the discussion on disruption to the consulting industry has been constantly on the agenda. Our experience at Talmix has been that these two offers very much align – and the use cases will increase. Leading consulting firms are innovative, and see talent marketplaces as a way to make their own teams more flexible and efficient, as they adopt a more agile model. And for businesses engaging long term with consulting firms, the pool of talent that can implement post-engagement, is a perfect way to resource on-demand and transition from plan to execution.
3. Independent Careers need dedication.
There’s still a myth that freelancing is the easy, quasi-retirement option. The opposite is true. From developing your online presence, to establishing your client approach, there is a full playbook that needs developing, and the most successful consultants are those that take it really seriously. It’s why we’ve launched our partners programme at Talmix, and why training programmes are valuable to anyone pursuing this career. Recognise that you’ll need to create your own proposition, be an ace at business development, marketing, finance as well as showcasing your expertise.
4. The Extended Workforce has many guises, and its purpose is still evolving.
The extended workforce is still, for many companies, an ad-hoc addition of external talent to their workforce. And for many that’s still seen as the consultancy-led Statement of Work programmes, or high-volume, blue-collar staffing. This is changing, as larger enterprises take a more skills-led, more agile approach to building their workforce, and recognise that flexibility in how teams are built takes them to more extended talent. As new platforms and marketplaces emerge, the ability to use external talent across the spectrum of experience and expertise, will be a game changer.
5. What happens next?
Convergence is almost as guaranteed as change, so as soon as new models emerge, convergence becomes a hot topic. Marketplaces covering different specialisms will have a natural synergy and see the potential power of combining to provide a fuller offer to companies. There’s a small note of caution here – sometimes the appeal of a particular marketplace is that it is focused on one specific set of talent so it’s an advantage to fill that gap in the supplier map.
Over time, increasing use of multiple marketplaces could create a management overhead, in just the way having too many other suppliers does. Will this mean that marketplaces merge and streamline that approach, or will they feature in more managed programmes with the traditional vendor management systems integrating talent marketplaces into their offerings? Or will traditional staffing firms add marketplaces to their mix, as we saw this year with the acquisition of BTG by Heidrick & Struggles.
I make no claim to be a futurist, and I’m as intrigued as anyone as to how the landscape will look in five years. What I am sure about is that there is a real place for Talent Marketplaces in company’s strategies, and that we’re just at the beginning of that journey. And as we progress, the appeal of pursuing a career through marketplaces increases. I’m looking forward to seeing it all develop, and most of all to seeing Talmix retain its market leadership position.
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