Nearly all U.S. companies use flexible, on-demand talent

In 2015, an impressive 88 percent of U.S. businesses of all sizes relied on on-demand workers as part of their workforce. More than 40 percent of these companies used on-demand professional as more than 30 percent of their overall workforce.

Not only are businesses planning to increase their use of independents in 2016, it appears many of them are already taking advantage of this new class of “free-agent” talent. This may suggest that these independents are proving their worth and are able to integrate well with their full-time counterparts.

The most common reason the surveyed companies gave for using on-demand professionals was increased flexibility. Using on-demand professional talent allows businesses to respond to opportunities with more agility, scaling their workforces as conditions require.

Other reasons for using on-demand professionals included lowering labor costs, supporting geographical expansion, generating additional revenue and improving work quality.

The results suggest that more businesses are looking to get smaller (with their workforce) in an effort to get bigger (with their growth). We expect this trend to continue well into 2016 as more businesses prove that they can increase the top line without having to increase their headcount.

Many of the 1,000 surveyed companies plan to increase their use of on-demand professionals in 2016. In doing so, the major obstacle they cite is the quality of available talent. That’s one reason why we vet our Canopy professional consultants so carefully – to make sure that our business clients have access to all of the flexible, high-quality talent that they need.

Seventy-four percent of surveyed businesses require a skills assessment before engaging an on-demand professional. The second most common requirement was a background check (56 percent) followed by validation of required licenses and certifications (44 percent).

Other reasons cited for not using more on-demand talent are budget and cost limitations, concern over sensitive data/information, lack of need, lack of awareness, lack of compliance tools and the time requirement of managing on-demand workers. Canopy helps clients address many of these objections.

We excerpted these results from the 2016 Corporate On-Demand Talent Report, a comprehensive study of corporate use of on-demand talent in a new economy published by Work Market. A previous post based on this report was Increasingly, companies use independent professionals for longer projects.

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