US study projects massive shift to agile working model over the next decade

agile-working-randstadBy the year 2025, most workers (70 percent) and employers (68 percent) agree a majority of the workforce will be employed in an agile working capacity as contractors, consultants, temporary or freelance staff, according to a study released by Randstad US. The Workplace 2025 report of more than 3,100 workers  and 1,500 HR and c-suite executives across the US found that as early as 2019, as much as 50 percent of the workforce will be comprised of agile workers, as nearly 4 in 10 (39 percent) workers say they are likely to consider shifting to an agile arrangement over the next two-to-three years. The study claims that this movement is fuelling an equally aggressive adoption of new workforce models that tap into both permanent and agile employees to combat staffing shortages, leverage globalisation and fuel greater innovation for organisations.

  • Approximately half (46 percent) of workers surveyed said they personally chose to become an agile worker. The Workplace 2025 study uncovered the primary motivations behind this:
  • 68 percent agree it better fits their lifestyle.
  • 63 percent believe working as an agile working employee will make them more qualified in the future workplace.
  • 56 percent agree agile work makes them more money.
  • 48 agree agile work offers them better career growth than working as a permanent employee.
  • 38 percent agree they feel more job security working as an agile worker than they do as a permanent employee.

By 2025, 52 percent of c-suite executives say their organizations will be much more committed to building an agile workforce and the average employer expects 68 percent of their workforce to be comprised of agile talent. Nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) employers agree that by 2025, companies that are adept at managing a mix of traditional and agile talent will be most successful.

Surprisingly, the study found that c-suite executives are more bullish when it comes to anticipation and reliance on an agile workforce in the future. For example, 75 percent of c-suite executives agree the majority of their workforce will be employed in an alternative work arrangement in 2025, compared to only 69 percent of HR leaders.

  • 64 percent of companies agree they struggle to find ways to engage their agile workforce due to compliance and regulatory requirements, while another 60 percent agree they have difficulty staying up-to-date on legal and operational best practices associated with managing that workforce. These challenges have triggered a need to engage staffing partners as they build a more agile model.
  • 81 percent of employers agree that in order to build an agile workforce, they will need to rely on staffing/recruitment partners to provide direction and guidance.
  • 82 percent of employers agree that by 2025, their reliance on staffing/recruiting partners will increase.

“Our first-of-its-kind study serves as a wake-up call for business and HR leaders to quickly embrace and prepare for the disruptive changes impacting how, when, where and by whom work is conducted,” said Jim Link, chief human resources officer at Randstad North America. “More workers have changed their perceptions of non-permanent employment, choosing to pursue agile work because it offers them greater control, growth and even job security. This mindset shift, combined with the growing availability of collaborative technologies to facilitate work from anywhere, anytime and on any device, means the notion of having to work a traditional nine to five day in an office is disappearing.”

“The ability to anticipate talent needs, and optimise and leverage skilled workers wherever they may be, will be key to a company’s sustainable competitive advantage going forward,” said Link. “For most organisations, moving to a more agile model will call for greater collaboration and alignment between HR executives and the c-suite in order to drive this shared objective. In addition, building today’s best-in-class workforce has moved beyond the halls of HR, requiring new stakeholders such as IT, finance and operations to help implement talent-related initiatives.”

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