That is a permanent menu item on our website and a button on every edition of our e-newsletter, The Curator.
As providers of Library as a Service® (LaaS), we are always hiring people with information management skills and experiences. Library as a Service is essentially a contracted and/or contingent workforce of librarians, researchers and other information professionals. Some of our clients outsource the entire administration of their library or information center to us. Some rely on us as a virtual information center, sending their reference requests as needed via our secure Knowledge Services Portal. And some people turn to us to recruit staff for them in archiving, technical services, cataloging, research and other library functions.
As such, human resources, talent management, human capital management and whatever other moniker you use is of great interest and importance to us. And the topic we follow most closely is the contingent workforce and growing ranks of freelancers, consultants and contractors.
Workforce research commissioned by SAP (specifically the company’s cloud-based software for human capital management called SuccessFactors) includes some data worth noting about the continued interest and growth in the use of contractors and contingent workers. The report is called Workforce 2020 and it incorporates research conducted in over 27 countries at the end of 2014. SAP calls it, “a large-scale global study to discover best practices and actual progress toward the creation of talent strategies for the future in the global economy.”
Several thousand executives and employees participated in a cross-industry, cross-function sampling. We salute SAP and Oxford Economics, the company that conducted the survey, for getting both sides of the story by including executives and employees, and doing so in equal number.
According to the report:
- 83% of executives say they will be increasing the use of contingent, intermittent, or consultant employees.
- 58% say that this will require some changes to their HR policies.
- Overall, executives are rethinking compensation, training, and HR technology.
A number of demographic changes and labor market shifts are behind these and other statistics reported in the findings:
- Recruiting difficulties, for employees with base-level skills (reported by 41%) as well as specialized employees (50%).
- Changing work models such as flex time and telecommuting was cited by 42%.
- Aging workforce was cited by 41%.
And the labor market shift that was cited the most (by 47%) is the change in employee expectations. The survey asked employees what is important to them, and then compared those results with what executives say their company offers. In every case, a smaller percentage of executive respondents said that it was widely offered. Those features are:
- Competitive Compensation
- Flexible Work Location
- Flexible Schedule
- Supplemental Training Programs
- Access to Social Media
We should also note that employee respondents were 39% Millennials (ages 18-35) and 61% non-Millennials.
Of course we see growing demand for contractors and contingent work forces as good news. It validates our decision to develop a service like Library as a Service, and helps to confirm its value to our clients and potential worth in the markets we serve.
At the same time it raises the bar and steps up the challenge, for companies like ours and for individuals who choose to pursue work as a contractor or freelancer. The recognition that HR policies, compensation, training and other practices will need to change is a positive sign. And of course, at a higher and broader level, we need to make sure that retirement and other societal concerns are addressed.
We will cover this topic more and in greater depth in the future. Meanwhile, if you have not seen the Workforce 2020 findings, it’s worth a look by following the link.