The most sought-after contingent roles in 2021

It is clear that contingent workers will be the primary source of agility, resilience and success for organizations all over the globe during and after the disruption brought by COVID19. Recognizing the necessity of experienced contingent workers, McKinsey has reported that there has been a 70% increase in the number of executives who plan on hiring people for contingent roles after the pandemic. A trend report about the contingent workforce has also claimed that 77% of executives believe freelance and gig workers will significantly replace full-time employees within the next 5 years. The rising necessity of such flexible experts is apparent; however, there isn’t enough information regarding the changes in the different types of roles that are being demanded. This article will discuss the most sought-after contingent roles in 2021 and the trends driving their demand.

The Contingent Roles on the Rise

-Change Managers and Transformation Specialists

Change management is the process of establishing and facilitating change. It is a highly skilled profession that requires attention to detail, creativity, and a willingness to bring about positive changes in organizations, projects, groups, or environments. Change managers also understand the needs of those they intend to serve and the environment in which they must work. Effective change managers are instrumental in helping organizations adjust to rapid technological developments and disruptive changes. Hence, making the job precisely suitable for experienced consultants who have worked in numerous industries and many other organizations.

The role also connects with transformation specialists as some companies might use them interchangeably. As the buzzword “transformation” is thrown around a lot in today’s business world, it’s practically synonymous with change and success. The duties of business transformation specialists entail similar tasks as of the change managers, and they are further defined as executive coaches or consultants who facilitate the organization’s transition from its current position to a desired future state. As such, they are responsible for altering behaviours and working with employees to change processes.

They also solve problems in the workplace, often through a systemic overhaul, and are committed to helping organizations identify and leverage opportunities for growth, expansion, and evolution. Change managers or transformation specialists create customized solutions for companies based on their analysis of goals, objectives, and current work environments.

-Project Managers

Project Managers (commonly referred to as the PMs) are responsible for managing any projects with defined scopes, timelines, and funds allocated to them. They help create structures around projects by developing timelines, writing reports with status updates, working with engineers to set deadlines, and communicating progress both verbally and in writing.

They utilize different management techniques to integrate multiple disciplines into a cohesive unit that can be executed efficiently and effectively. These management techniques include planning, budgeting, staffing, scheduling, negotiation, and control. Project managers are usually individuals with strong leadership skills and diverse experiences. Therefore, hiring remote consultants who have experience in guiding and leading teams can help organizations swiftly and efficiently achieve their goals.

-Innovation Specialists

Hiring or at least consulting Innovation specialists has also become an essential task due to the recent changes. These experts help businesses identify the necessary improvements in existing processes to support and enhance innovation and research. They also assist with the integration of new methods and models in different units of a company. Innovation specialists are often hired to help incorporate design thinking principles into everyday activities and create disruptive solutions across asset management.

– IT Developers

In August 2020, a research study from McKinsey stated that the recovery of COVID19 would be digital. Cloud-based technologies will become the foundation of business activities. Moreover, the study recommended that to gain value from the post covid transformation, IT departments will need to become more agile, and the entire IT infrastructure and operations will require more adaptability.

Experienced IT developers are crucial for a company’s success in today’s technological age following disruptive changes. They help organizations with all the vital backend activities of digital operations. IT experts analyze users’ behaviours and need to design, test, and develop or upgrade software, programs, and systems. These professionals basically create each building block of an application or a system and then figure out how everything will work together to provide the best user experience. Many roles within the canopy of IT developers are essential but not needed on a full-time basis; hence offering them to expert remote workers is the best way to implement quick changes. 

-Growth Consultants 

Growth consultants are business leaders and professional problem solvers who help companies grow effectively and overcome obstacles. They provide critical content expertise, strategic guidance, key partner capabilities, and more. Their job is to take a company’s goals beyond what it can achieve on its own and show how they can be achieved through detailed strategies. Growth targets are achieved by using behavioural science findings to help decision-makers change their mindset towards achieving better results and sharing the findings in an actionable way. As organizations are recovering from the damage caused by COVID19, they are looking into growth and expansion opportunities to improve revenues and catch up to their objectives. Growth consultants can prove to be valuable assets during this time as they can access the business environment more objectively and provide the best solutions to companies.

The Trends Giving Rise to These Contingent Roles

The freelance revolution is progressing at an astonishing rate. The gig economy looks a lot more refined and specialized now than it did just a few years ago. The unprecedented events of last year have given more credibility to independent, flexible employees, and there are specific trends that are increasing the demand for a number of contingent roles.

Let’s have a look at the trends supporting the rise of specialized freelance roles.

-The global acceptance of remote/virtual work will continue supporting the expansion of freelancing. 

trend report from CXC has predicted that by the end of 2021, 20% to 30% of the workforce will operate remotely. It is noticeable even at a glimpse that the forced move towards remote work has proven to be attainable through the use of interactive technologies and collaborative platforms like Zoom and Slack. Moreover, it can also be assumed that many people have found it attractive as it gives more flexibility to the usual 9 to 5 work routine. On top of all this, data collected so far shows that remote work has proven productive, as many organizations have seen success through this model despite the numerous hurdles and unforeseen issues. Even where full-time workers were finding it challenging to work from home, companies have been growing comfortably through the help of remote consultants, contractors, and experienced freelancers. The dependence and acceptance of remote work are also growing because companies can leverage contingent workers at any point in the supply chain, which gives a lot more freedom to employers.

-Increasing trust in contingent employees is creating opportunities for more complex and large-scale projects. 

Many highly skilled professionals are now attracted to the remote work life due to the freedom and flexibility it provides. Nowadays, experts who have decades of experience in diverse fields and industries prefer to operate as contingent workers instead of having full-time jobs. Businesses are also recognizing the achievements and experiences of such workers leading to increased levels of trust. It is also becoming a lot more apparent that skilled consultants and contractors can actually bring numerous benefits for companies because they understand the industries and the external business environments a lot better than traditional employees. This recognition is persuading many companies to hire contingent workers for more complex and large-scale projects.

Companies like IBM and Accenture are hiring remote workers to take on complex projects. Moreover, according to Forbes,  global organizations like Microsoft have entire divisions dedicated to hiring contingent workers for large-scale, high ROI projects. Even Apple is re-structuring to integrate more contingent workers into its workforce.

-The emergence of specialized freelance marketplaces and the strengthening relationship between platform teams and freelance experts

A decade ago, freelancers relied on newspaper ads and word-of-mouth. Today, there are numerous specialized freelance marketplaces providing access to virtually every kind of talent imaginable. We have discussed in our previous blogs that platforms like ConsultXperts are providing all types of services to organizations beyond just finding remote workers. Such platforms are becoming more innovative and integrated, helping businesses with the entire onboarding, managing, communication, and payroll activities. They also provide access to consultants and independent contractors who already have years of experience under their belt, so companies are not wasting their time on unqualified freelancers. This feature also increases the credibility, trust, and project outcomes associated with the experts being hired.

These platforms are also becoming significantly necessary for two simultaneous movements: freelancing is becoming more common, and hiring is becoming more segmented. Now people are outsourcing more complex and high-risk tasks, so they need very segmented contingent workers. Specialized online marketplaces are now operating efficiently on both ends of the process. Firstly, they allow contingent workers to provide expert services at competitive rates and find work in a huge, previously inaccessible market. Secondly, they are helping employers access people with highly specific skills, which would cost them a lot of money and time to actually teach their full-time employees.

Another primary change that has occurred is the connection between platform teams and freelance experts. In hopes of delivering the best quality work and services to employers from the experts, platforms are now directly contacting, assuring, and vetting the freelancers who sign up with them. This has created a closer relationship between the teams who run these marketplaces and the experts who deliver the work to organizations. Thus creating an efficient and reliable model of hiring contingent workers for the most sought-out roles in the market. 

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Author Since: May 7, 2020

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