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Flexible Recruiting on the Rise in the UK as Demand for Digital Talent Increases

  • Publish Date: Posted 01 March 2019
  • Author: AP Group

​28% of UK businesses are set to hire temporary or contract staff over the next 12 months, due to the impact of digitalisation on businesses and a lack of available talent. 
The results, which come from the Salary Guide of a leading UK recruitment firm, found that two in five UK organisations regard digitalisation as the main evolving force in today’s workplace. 

The Impact of Digitalisation on the Workplace 

Digitalisation is impacting the workplace in countless ways, forcing businesses to rethink the way they are organised. 
For instance, employers are introducing new working structures and monitoring employee performance in ways that have not been previously possible. The accelerating pace of automation is also changing the role of employees, transforming work content, work processes and the working environment in unimaginable ways. 
As AI, automation and digitalisation infiltrate the present-day workforce, businesses are increasingly in need of employees who possess a set of skills that reflect these technological changes, including data visualisation, data management and analytics. And while ‘soft’ skills such as resilience, adaptability and critical thinking remain key characteristics of a potential hire, a third of employers state that a candidate’s technical skillset is extremely influential during the hiring process. 

The Inevitable Rise of Flexible Recruiting

There is currently a notable skills shortage in the UK, particularly in the technology sector, which has an estimated 40,000-strong deficit in appropriately qualified specialists. Brexit uncertainty is also hindering UK hiring activity, causing a detrimental impact on the skilled technology talent pool.  

As a result of the above, many businesses are left with no other choice but to adopt more flexible recruitment strategies. For instance, there has been an upsurge in short-term contracts, also known as ‘gigs’ which include both one-off and repeat arrangements, and this trend looks set to remain over the next 12 months. 

The gig economy presents many benefits to businesses, including easy access to a wider talent pool from across the globe, who are easily accessible thanks to advances in technology and increased mobility. Many of these workers possess a diverse range of skills, thus opening up businesses to a creative and innovative new workforce.

Another benefit to recruiters is that it cuts costs, not only during the initial hiring process but in the long-term too. As freelancers typically promote themselves more heavily through new technologies (including apps and dedicated website), this makes them cheaper and easier to find online. This also presents increased flexibility to the structure of the workforce, which can be quickly and easily increased or decreased in accordance with workload demands and budgets.