Proportion of gig professionals growing in companies, says Korn Ferry

19 September 2018

A recent survey of nearly 500 HR and talent acquisition professionals by HR consultancy Korn Ferry finds that the proportion of contingent or ‘gig economy’ professionals working in companies is growing. The reasons for the growing number of gig workers include cost savings and access to high-caliber talent.

60% of HR professionals surveyed by the consulting firm said that gig workers made up a larger percentage of their professional workforce, and 42% plan to hire more contingent workers.

Korn Ferry says that the gig consultant economy won’t, however, replace the traditional work model, at least in higher-skilled arenas. The survey, though, isn’t concerned with underpaid Uber drivers and food couriers, but with in-demand knowledge workers like management consultants, data analysts, and IT specialists. Firms integrating those sorts of gig workers should take a balanced approach to the emerging gig economy, “one that incorporates campus, contingent workers and full-time employees, and one that, in essence, makes the most business sense,” according to Jeanne MacDonald, president of Global Talent Solutions for Korn Ferry’s RPO and Professional Search Business.

Firms’ top two reasons for hiring gig professionals was to staff up for short-term projects and to gain expertise they didn’t have in-house. As such, firms are turning to highly skilled gig professionals to solve problems that often include niche technological or technical skills to complete specific, bounded projects.Proportion of gig professionals growing in companies, says Korn Ferry48% of respondents said gig professionals performed at a higher caliber than specialized full-timers, while 46% said that hiring them saved their firms money. These professionals, however, don’t provide value in lower rates – they will generally be paid more per hour. The value derives from coming in with the specific expertise needed, solving the problem, and then leaving when their specific task is done and their expensive capabilities are no longer needed.

“While they may cost more per hour or per project than your full-time employees, they provide the targeted expertise that can help quickly resolve issues and get results,” said MacDonald.

Gig workers are also easy to manage, according to the survey. 67% of respondents said that they are confident that they know what their gig professionals are doing every day, despite most of them being remote workers. A further 42% said that gig workers were easier to manage than their full-time employees.

Gig work for professionals will continue to be an attractive option for those who want more flexibility in their work arrangements, though many organizations are already looking into providing more flexible work options for their full-timers. In the end, if your skills are in-demand, you can find a work arrangement that works for you, be it stable permanent employment or sporadic gig work. Professionals, ultimately, have some leverage.

The gig economy has been seeing more vocal criticism in the non-professional arena, where firms like Uber and Foodora have been using the work arrangement to pay people ‘by-the-piece’ like early era industrialists. The pros of flexibility and marketing sheen of the word ‘gig’ mask the realities of uncertain paycheques, a lack of benefits and pensions, and no job security. The Archbishop of Canterbury recently remarked that employees are being oppressed by the insecure work arrangements, going so far as to call the gig economy ‘evil.’

Meanwhile, a recent study reported by CNBC has found that about half of Californians working in the gig economy are struggling with poverty; nearly one in 10 adult residents of the Golden State work in the gig economy. 



US tech consultancy Slalom to open Manchester office

19 April 2019

Slalom is on the move again, this time expanding its UK footprint. The American tech consulting firm has announced plans to open a Manchester office in which it will employ 200 staff by 2025. The firm, which opened a London office in 2014, was formerly known as Slalom Consulting until a 2015 rebranding.

The announcement of the Manchester move follows a January relocation of its more than 700 Chicago-based employees from its office in Chicago’s Prudential Plaza to Aon Center, the third-tallest building in the city. Slalom’s previous space at Prudential was separated between floors, causing inconvenience. The new space at Aon is a marked improvement, in addition to the sheer size difference, with the move nearly doubling the firm’s floor space. The space will also utilize hoteling (scheduled workspaces), project-based workspace, and flexible areas for events and education. Slalom also expanded into Canada in 2016, opening an office in Toronto.

Paul Squire, managing director of Slalom’s London location, will head up the Manchester office. “I’m excited about working with our clients in the North West of England, helping them to deliver people-centric change, bring strategic solutions to life, and ultimately, to love their future,” he said.

Slalom has been one of Fortune 100’s “Best Companies to Work For” for four consecutive years, and has partnerships with powerhouse organizations including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Tableau. It employs more than 6,500 people in 29 offices across North America and the UK.US tech consultancy Slalom to open Manchester office“Manchester is a city of digital enterprise with a wide range of strengths across industries including manufacturing, healthcare, utilities and consumer services; which perfectly complements Slalom’s breadth of expertise,” Dave Williams, UK Country Managing Director, said. "We're looking forward to collaborating with clients to shape their internal capabilities, building a team and investing in the local community."

“Greater Manchester is a hotbed for collaboration and innovation, making it the ideal location for pioneering businesses like Slalom. There are strong complementarities between Slalom and Greater Manchester’s efforts to collaborate with companies going through digital transformation and supporting them to grow within the region. Establishing operations within one of Europe’s largest digital and technology clusters will provide the consultancy firm with ample opportunities to join forces with the rapidly increasing number of world-leading brands that are choosing Manchester,” Tim Newns, chief executive of Manchester’s inward investment agency, added.

In December 2018, the firm launched Slalom Build, a software and tech product “Build-as-a-service” offering that enables companies to build cloud-native software and tech products. While Slalom is headquartered in Seattle, Slalom Build centers can currently be found in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, and Toronto.