January 16, 2020 On-Demand Talent Brings Niche Skills to the Table
According to IBM, 60% of executives struggle to keep workforce skills up to date with growing tech. Despite 61% of executives rating STEM skills as the single most important workforce skills in the modern workspace, 65% of CIOs admit that finding adequate tech talent is hurting industries across the globe. That’s where on-demand talent comes in.
At Topcoder Open 2019 (TCO19), thought leaders and industry experts gathered to discuss how companies can tackle what IBM calls the ‘global skills crisis’. Key players presented advantages of working with on-demand talent during a panel led by Paul Estes, on-demand talent evangelist and author of the new book Gig Mindset. Steve Pockross of Verblio, Brian Bednarek of Mesh01, and Amelia Warren Tyagi of Business Talent Group. These visionaries joined Estes to discuss on-demand talent benefits, including reducing skills shortage frictions. Here are some of the top takeaways from that panel.
Flexible, On-Demand Talent with Niche Skills
On-demand talent exists primarily on “platforms” that are inherently flexible. And that flexibility is attractive to companies. Topcoder’s platform enables talent solutions that are custom-tailored to each company. At the partner level, Topcoder draws unique strategies and makes technical changes on the platform to accommodate hyper-specific partner needs.
Steve Pockross at Verblio highlights platform flexibility and specificity as key benefits, as well. For example, one of Verblio’s clients is a legal SEO agency that’s key value proposition is that each piece of content is quality-assured by an attorney. When you take that unique value proposition and juxtapose it with an on-demand talent platform, it can seem at best like an awkward fit. Can on-demand talent deliver on a niche goal? But platforms are evolving to meet such niche needs.
In fact, Steve and his team at Verblio segment writers by specialization. They were able to find 10 Juris Doctors (JD) on their platform to assign as editors. Then they utilized their legal writers to create the content to be edited by these 10 JDs. By creating this one-of-a-kind workflow, Verblio was able to deliver this content at scale.
Topcoder also has a pool of experts that is as deep as it is wide. Topcoder cultivates skills internally to help scale up projects. For example, Topcoder helped SpaceNet build interest and skills in a niche field that started with almost no experts.
On-Demand Talent Provides Essential Skills to Grow and Scale
On-demand talent has nearly unlimited scale. But it’s not only useful for scaling existing solutions; it’s also a tool to grow new ones and maintain existing ones. For example, the Topcoder community creates new app designs, performs QA testing for existing apps, and scales projects to launch.
Mesh01 also helps clients in this way. The platform helps brands gather customer feedback during product testing. While many brands use Mesh01 to grow new product lines, they’ve done incredible work helping companies grow existing lines. For example, when an existing retailer had its core, high-volume product decline over 30%, Mesh01 connected them with their ideal target audience. Why? To provide critical improvement feedback that helped them remediate the decline and turn it into a year-over-year increase in sales.
From Redundant Tasks to Skilled Proficiencies
Another key aspect of on-demand talent is that it brings a wide variety of skills to the table. The Federal Reserve estimates that there are 75 million gig workers in the United States. While many of those roles involve tasks like driving, there are many skills in the open talent economy that are niche and industry-specific.
Amelia Warren Tyagi of Business Talent Group specializes in helping businesses find support from consultants trained by the Big 3 (McKinsey, Bain, and Boston) as well as those with experience at some of the top businesses on the planet. From Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to Business Talent Group, the overall skillset of the on-demand talent community is diverse, specialized, and plentiful.
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