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The Skills Gap: Why Smart Companies Are 'Renting' Talent in Post-COVID World

In a post-pandemic world, business leaders are radically rethinking their approach to hiring and managing talent. The COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the need to respond nimbly to chaotic change, manage fixed costs, accelerate productivity and innovate more quickly. Many firms are looking to reposition, seeking critical skill sets and experience to help them evolve, innovate and stay agile amid rising disruption and volatility.

As a result, organizations are increasingly turning to outsourcing and highly skilled freelance talent. A recent survey of 700 senior business leaders conducted by Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found 60 percent would prefer to “rent,” “borrow,” or “share” talent with other companies because they can no longer find the skills they need.

A whopping 90 percent of companies agree that there is a competitive advantage in shifting their talent model to a blend of full-time and freelance employees, the research found. Separately, 60 percent of respondents said it was “highly” or “somewhat” possible that their core workforce in the future would be much smaller.

“COVID-19 has accelerated discussions by management, C-suite leaders and boards across the country of outsourcing talent as a way to stay nimble,” said Holly Mickens, Managing Director of Talent Solutions at SitusAMC. “As artificial intelligence, data analytics and innovative processes continue to increase, companies are realizing the potential for even greater productivity by outsourcing the specialized skills they need.”

Filling The Skills Gap

Part of the challenge is the sheer number of skills companies require, and how quickly needed skill sets continue to evolve given faster automation, digital transformation, and demographic shifts, the Harvard/BCG research noted. An analysis by the advisory firm Gartner found companies listed about 33 percent more skills on job postings in 2020 than they did in 2017. “Ultimately, organizations simply can’t reskill the capabilities of their existing workforce fast enough to meet their changing needs,” noted Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice, in the Harvard Business Review.

“Outsourcing solutions, which have evolved significantly in the last decade, empower financial firms to scale quickly and right-size teams to respond to market opportunity,” Mickens said. “These platforms give companies the opportunity to make agile changes in staff size, composition and skill sets to accommodate technology as it evolves.” A number of leading banks and private equity firms among others have turned to SitusAMC to provide talent in the form of one-off staffing all the way up to fully dedicated teams. They support real estate finance-focused activities, including processing and fulfillment, underwriting support, servicing asset management, and IT outsourcing.

Hundreds of new talent platforms have emerged in recent years. “Our research showed that many leadership teams have not yet fully grasped the strategic significance of these talent platforms,” said Joseph Fuller, Professor of Management Practice and co-chair of the Project on Managing the Future of Work at Harvard Business School, in a press release. “They are more than a stopgap; they are a means for resolving the chronic problems companies face while filling their talent needs. Business leaders cannot risk missing a critical opportunity to build a more flexible, resilient organization.”

A Cohesive Approach to Mitigating Risk, Attracting Top Talent

However, financial companies in particularly need to be careful to choose a platform that provides a cohesive structure and operational approach, especially as COVID-19 has accelerated remote working, Mickens said.

“Adding outsourced talent on an ad-hoc basis can become cumbersome and difficult to manage over time,” she explained. “New professionals want to negotiate custom employment agreements, resulting in a myriad of different policies, job titles and compliance guardrails that require extensive oversight. Companies are turning to our talent offering because we deliver a uniform and consistent personnel approach aligned with our clients’ guidelines and culture, with an established focus for mitigating business risk.”

As part of its turnkey talent platform, SitusAMC supervises all of the time-consuming administrative details for clients, from payroll and benefits; to regulatory compliance monitoring; to compensation and workforce management. “Experienced professionals are attracted to the quality and care they receive through SitusAMC’s platform,” Mickens said. “This enables us to connect our clients with senior talent who bring remarkable value to their organizations, and frees up leaders to better focus on their core business at hand.”

To learn more about SitusAMC Talent Solutions, click here.