According to an ATD survey, 83% of companies report skills gaps that threaten their organization’s ability to prepare for the future. So it’s no surprise that more and more of them are trying to make better use of the high-end gig economy—especially given the segment’s robust growth. Business Talent Group’s co-founder and CEO, Jody Greenstone Miller, unpacked the trend on a recent podcast with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Carol Massar and Jason Kelly.
BTG’s collaboration with Heidrick & Struggles illustrates the evolution of how large global organizations think about high-end talent.
“If you think about the way that high-end talent has typically gone into organizations,” Miller explained, “It’s typically through collaborative efforts with a firm like Heidrick and a very detailed search process. That’s a wonderful way to fill high-end jobs, but there’s all kinds of other things that companies need to get done that require a faster and more temporary solution. So having the ability to dip into a new pocket of high-end independent talent helps companies find talent they couldn’t find otherwise and be more agile.”
Why turn to independents?
First of all, Miller explained, it’s where the talent is going. According to a recent brief by MBO Partners, the population of high-earning independents has swelled by 70% between 2011 and 2018. Tapping these workers just about accessing hard-to-hire talent—in many cases, it’s about accessing up-to-the-minute skills like data analytics, which is as new as it is essential to corporate performance.
Second, says Miller, the needs of large global companies are changing. As they seek to fend off competition by smaller, nimbler start-ups, they are trying to boost not just innovation but organizational agility. Independent talent can play a crucial part in helping to execute these strategies, offering fast access to the skills companies need to tackle specific initiatives, then moving on to the next challenge.
Unfortunately, most big global companies aren’t yet set up to integrate this type of talent. But as firms like BTG—and, now, Heidrick & Struggles—work to help them get smarter about it, the change will continue to accelerate.
Leah Hoffmann is BTG's Marketing & Content Strategist. A former journalist, Leah worked for Forbes.com and The Economist before joining BTG. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.