[Part 4] Online Staffing is Engaging Contingent Workers

Online Staffing companies are leveraging technology to disrupt the traditional staffing model.  Unlike staffing firms, these companies deliver talent exchanges through marketplace models. These web-based platforms let individuals buy and sell various services and provide features that enable online project engagement and self-service options (e.g., billing, rating, scoping, and feedback). We’ve broken down Online Staffing into 5 subsets. 

The Five Subsets of Online Staffing:

  • Crowd-sourced Recruitment
  • Temporary Labor Marketplace
  • E-Staffing
  • Recruitment Marketplace
  • College or University Recruiting

Crowd-Sourced Recruitment

These are task-based services or scoped work projects. They let you set your own budget and get the product you want without the hassle of having to go and find someone on your own. Employers share tasks and let individuals create and submit their own unique solutions of which the employer selects the winning solutions. You can see this trend mirrored in other specialized areas like graphic design. While old school solutions like BountyJobs got flack for introducing this model back in 2007, today it’s thriving, perhaps due to the rise of the so-called “gig economy”. In short, because everyone’s doing it.

Temporary Labor Marketplace

Similar to Crowd Sourced Recruitment, the Temporary Labor Marketplace companies consist of task-based and / or scoped projects. The difference is that these platforms include one submission for every project posted. Many of the companies in this Segment have found success focusing on vertical-specific or job-specific offerings because they are able to scale much more efficiently. As companies attempt to scale to demand (and scale back when demand wanes), this has affected recruitment in a very real way.

“The changing needs of today’s workers, the war for talent and the globalization of the workforce are just a few reasons that today’s technology is evolving so rapidly. All of these forces are driving workforce management to the top of the business agenda, especially as talent becomes a true differentiator for organizations.” Arun Srinivasan, senior vice president of Strategy and Customer Operations of SAP Fieldglass told CIO.com.


E-staffing companies have been in the limelight recently. Hired.com recently closed their series A round of funding at a $200 million valuation. These technologies are reinventing how traditional staffing works by leveraging technology to reduce their cost base (which reduces the price for employers) and scale extremely quickly. Instead of waiting for companies to post jobs, they are essentially pre-qualifying passive job seekers and sending them interesting, presumably well-matched jobs when they become available. While The Ladders has claimed to do this for years, the high valuations of many of these companies should speak directly to their efficacy but long-term results aren’t in yet.

Recruitment Marketplace

Recruitment Marketplaces are narrowly focused Temporary Labor Marketplaces. These platforms have pools of thousands of independent recruiters.  Some of these platforms allow you to hire a recruiter per hour and others allow you to crowdsource your recruitment so that many recruiters can work on the same job, ideally reducing your time to fill. Over 90% of all business are Small or Medium Sized Businesses (SMB); they employ over 60% of the global workforce and account for more than 50% of the global GDP. This means that those who put most of us to work may not have a full-time recruiting staff or even a full-time recruiter. Enter the recruitment marketplace, which allows smaller companies access to premium recruitment professionals for as much, or as little time, as they need.

College Recruiting

The companies in this Segment offer a number of different ways to connect students in college, or recent graduates, with work (full, part-time and internship). While large corporations have always had university recruitment departments, the proliferation of talent brokers in the entry-level and internship space should be an indicator that help is needed.

Online Staffing platforms are generally not the employers of record for the contingent talent who use their talent acquisition software, rather they are brokers of talent. While currently a strategic advantage that reduces these companies’ cost profiles and risk, these companies are beginning to, and we believe will continue to, encounter head winds as worker classification comes under increasing levels of scrutiny.

On the other hand, Online Staffing has experienced explosive growth. In fact, 34% of the U.S. workforce is classified as contingent and the number of freelance workers is expected to reach 60 million by 2020. As this market continues to grow at a rapid rate, we expect the winners who emerge to be the companies that can effectively capture and sustain talent pools.

Online Staffing Contenders:

  • Gigwalk
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • Laterally
  • Underdog.io
  • Hourlynerd
  • Fiverr
  • BountyJobs
  • Looksharp
  • Hire Canvas

Online staffing is hotter than ever before, but with 3 billion internet users and 71% of the US labor force being on the job market, you have to refine your search. Breaking down online staffing into 5 stages refines that talent for HR, making their job just a little more breezy.

71% of the US labor force is on the job market. How to refine your #candidate search: Click To Tweet

This article originally featured on Recruiter.com.

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