Companies Turn to Global Market of Freelancers & Virtual Recruitment to Plug Skills Gaps After Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic upset a lot of traditional and long-held beliefs about the world of work, but one area that has bounced back following the disruption is the freelance economy. The rise in remote working since the start of the pandemic has accelerated the numbers working freelance globally, enabling employers to widen their recruitment searches and plug skills gaps.

That’s according to Nicolas Speeckaert, Founder and Managing Partner of skeeled, whose views are supported by recent studies. For instance, one survey by PeoplePerHour highlighted the increased demand for freelance talent in 2020 – a trend set to continue in 2021.

Now, 67% of companies say they are using freelancers to bring new skills to their businesses, and 42% are using flexible talent to speed up projects. The PeoplePerHour survey also revealed that 28% of companies have turned to freelancers as a primary means of moving their business online. Of course, following the lockdowns of the last year, this has been a mission-critical transformation for many businesses. But it’s also a trend that’s redefining and innovating the world of work for the better.

What does this mean for the global economy going forward? The answer: the future could be powered by freelancers.

Tech Skills in Even Greater Demand

And in this new, freelancer-driven world, tech and digital skills are likely to be of highest demand post pandemic. Digital channels have become a lifeline for people and brands because they offer a way for individuals and companies to connect safely with one another. Brands know this all too well. A McKinsey study last year highlighted that 85% of businesses have accelerated digitalisation of key channels – supply chain, customer, and employee – and 67% have accelerated automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Other skills likely to grow in prominence in the next five years, according to the World Economic Forum, are critical thinking and problem-solving, as well as skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.

What this suggests is that employers are looking for the very traits that define the freelancer work ethic. Remote working itself has powered this shift.

On this topic, Nicolas Speeckaert argues that the pandemic has been an accelerator of change. “More people are working remotely,” he said, “with many expected to continue doing so beyond Covid-19. This has given some the opportunity to switch careers, out of choice or necessity, and join the growing number of skilled freelancers and contractors.

“The skills employers need in their business have also changed with digital skills and the softer skills of resilience and communication more in demand. As a result, the rules of recruitment have shifted too, and many organisations have embraced virtual recruitment to hire people with the right skills and onboard them successfully.”

As the world moves beyond the pandemic, employers can use virtual recruitment to easily tap into the global workforce. Geographical boundaries no longer need to be a barrier to recruitment.

Nicolas Speeckaert
Founder and Managing Partner, skeeled

Headshot Nicolas Speeckaert Founder & Managing Partner, skeeled

The Rise & Rise of Virtual Recruitment

Of course, many areas of work have transitioned to a virtual setup, something we’re likely to see continue this year and beyond. But we’re already seeing some sectors and people edging their way back to the office, despite hype around hybrid working.

Virtual recruitment, on the other hand, appears to be on the rise regardless of feelings drawing people back into the office. We have the unique tech and digital skills employers require to thank for that. Companies need a wider recruitment pool to ensure they maintain their competitiveness and can innovate their way to a future-proof operation.

“Virtual recruitment is here to stay as it opens up the recruitment pool to the entire world,” argues Nicolas. “Using virtual recruitment tools, employers can effectively search the globe for the right candidates for their business.

“As the world moves beyond the pandemic, employers can use virtual recruitment to easily tap into the global workforce. Geographical boundaries no longer need to be a barrier to recruitment.”

But wider talent pools aren’t the only benefit to virtual recruitment. By moving more of the talent acquisition process into the digital realm, we’re generating more opportunity for data analysis and more informed hiring. AI, for instance, is helping to locate and select suitable candidates quickly, ranking and evaluating them against specifications as a means of efficiently managing large volumes of applications.

At skeeled, they’re specialising in exactly this kind of virtual recruitment, helping to bridge the gap between the physical and digital to ensure employers find the right talent for their needs. You can find out more about skeeled here.

Are We Entering a New Age of the Gig Economy?

The global pandemic has changed workplace dynamics forever – and recruitment is no different. To ensure they thrive in this new era, companies will keep turning to freelancers to plug skills gaps and to equip them with the means to excel in the digital age. But getting recruitment processes right in this virtual world will be a challenge for many.

If you’d like to learn more virtual recruitment and how it will play a key fixture in the hybrid workplaces of tomorrow, read Nicolas Speeckaert’s full article on the subject now.