Workplace Trends

Workforce Trends

Hiring Slows in July, but Online Freelancing Continues to Take Off

By Lee Hecht Harrison on August 16, 2013

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary reports 3 .9 million job openings at the end of June, approximately the same as May. The hires rate of 3.1 percent is down slightly from the 3.3 percent registered in May and the turnover rate decreased slightly from 3.2 percent to 3.0 percent. The quits rate remain unchanged at 1.6 percent.

The number of hires increased slightly over the month in the following industries: construction (1.7 percent to 2.2 percent); professional and business services (3.3 percent to 3.6 percent); and accommodations and food services (3.3 percent to 3.4 percent). Turnover was up slightly in state and local government 261,000 to 266,000 (1.4 percent to 1.4 percent) and the quits rate inched up in retail (2.1 percent to 2.2 percent); health care and social assistance (1.4 percent to 1.5 percent); and arts, entertainment and recreation (2.1 percent to 2.5 percent). Overall, layoffs were down from 1.3 percent to 1.1 percent month over.

With many employers remaining reluctant to hire full-time employees until the recovery picks up more steam, they must still find a way to meet business demands. Online freelance/contract workers are offering a viable solution to meeting an organization’s staffing needs. In her Forbes blog, “As Job Growth Lags, Companies Outsource Work to Freelancers Through the Cloud,” Elena Kvochko reports on the growth of the global online work industry which is “currently estimated to be between $1 billion and $2 billion, [and] is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2018.” Historically, online work was somewhat limited to lower-paying clerical positions. Now, thanks to cloud technology, Kvochko explains that online cloud-based opportunities are available for “just about any job that can be done in front of a computer, including lawyers, accountants and strategic consultants.”

Online freelance marketplaces such as oDesk and Elance and Guru indicate increased demand for freelance workers over the past year. According to Elance’s 2013 Global Online Employment Report, “freelancers with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skill sets have increased 153% year-over-year.”

This flexible staffing model enables organizations to staff up or down based on business demand. And thanks to today’s technology, it provides immediate access to a global labor force across all time zones. Freelancers benefit from the flexibility of choosing assignments and the opportunity to sharpen their skills by working for a wide-range of employers and industries.

The reality is that organizations are staffing differently today.  They are looking for a flexible, mobile workforce that can quickly respond to changing business needs.  Online freelance can fill this need and meet the challenge head-on.

Leave a Reply