Decoding the Priorities of the Knowledge Workforce

by | Mar 14, 2022 | Blog

The professional workforce faced significant changes during 2020 and 2021, the most notable being the shift in power dynamics between employer and employee. Reduced labor participation coupled with increased demand has created a landscape where employers desperately search for new talent, but the talent has no interest in participating in the traditional hiring gambit.

According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 Talent Trends Report, 53% of business leaders plan to hire extensively this year; however, these professionals will have to start thinking outside the box to fill roles. The priorities of the workforce have shifted; businesses need to evaluate new strategies and more flexible options, like contract staffing and non-traditional schedules, to attract and retain the talent they need.

Shifting Priorities

It’s no secret that the priorities of the workforce are changing, and employees are no longer satisfied with the status quo. But what exactly are their priorities shifting away from and towards?

One of the most significant shifts is towards telework, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. More workers than ever are logging on from their homes and have little desire to return to the office any time soon. The flexibility of remote work is unmatched and has become one of the top priorities for employees and job-seekers alike. Some companies, like Trello and Automattic, have even shifted to asynchronous work, where everyone on the team works when they choose.

This shift towards prioritizing flexibility is emphasized by another, more surprising change in the market’s mindset; nearly 40% of knowledge workers named work-life balance above salary as the most important element of a job, above compensation (29%), and professional growth (13%).

This desire for work-life balance has manifested as a mass migration towards freelance and gig work for knowledge workers. Paro, a finance startup for freelancers, conducted a recent study and found that 31% of all knowledge workers are already freelancers, and 17% of knowledge workers who aren’t are considering making that leap in 2022.

So, how can employers rise to the challenge and avoid further talent shortages? How can businesses satisfy the needs of valuable knowledge workers while still protecting their bottom line?

Contract Staffing as a Solution

The shift towards a gig-based market is well underway, and as knowledge workers’ values shift to align with the benefits of contract, short-term work, it will only become more and more desirable.

Contract staff can be beneficial for many reasons, even beyond tapping into the growing gig economy, like adapting to economic uncertainty and having the flexibility to scale up (or down) fast. It can also be more cost-efficient than the typical hiring process, and it gives your business the opportunity to trial employees before permanent hire (if that’s still the end goal). Within the tech industry, contract staff is common because it enables companies to tackle a specific project without long-term commitment. It’s a chance for companies and contractors alike to learn and develop in a mutually beneficial way.

But managing a network of contract employees and freelancers can be tricky for businesses equipped mainly for permanent roles. This is why an experienced partner with consulting and contract staffing at their core can be a game-changer. Your business has its own areas of expertise, its own core. Find a trusted partner to handle the other stuff, so that you can reap the rewards.

To learn more about the powerful impact an experienced strategic partner can have on your business, check out this case study detailing 3Ci’s successful partnership with a Fortune 100 bank.