Ted Sergott, EVP, Product Development at PRO Unlimited, is responsible for all aspects of PRO’s Vendor Management System, Wand.
In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the candidate sourcing and talent landscape. According to a Gallup poll, 70% of the workforce was always or sometimes working remotely in April 2020.
Workers and organizations have had to adjust to this “new normal,” which offers both challenges and opportunities. For savvy organizations, one such opportunity is the ability to source contingent job positions in previously untapped locations, which can open up possibilities to lower costs, reduce fill times, and increase talent levels and diversity.
Remote Work And Business Intelligence: The New Landscape
Let’s say your company has been hiring primarily on the West Coast. Now that Covid-19 has ushered in a “new normal,” many employees in these areas have successfully been working remotely.
So, as you hire for new contingent positions, you have the option to make roles remote and hire people across the country — or even worldwide. Furthermore, looking for remote employees opens up possibilities for hiring new groups, such as stay-at-home parents.
As the EVP of product development at a company that offers contingent workforce management technology and managed service provider (MSP) services, I believe companies need strong rate and market intelligence to best take advantage of these opportunities. Without it, there could be misalignment between locations, positions and rates, which could thwart potential gains in talent and cost savings.
The Challenges Of Data
The concepts of rate and market intelligence aren’t new. Long before the current pandemic, organizations looking to hire top talent sought to better understand what the market would bear for a resource and how difficult it would be to hire that resource.
Historically, many companies have lacked access to the tremendous amount of labor and market data needed to accurately understand market rates and fill times. Even if they were harnessing internal data, they were often missing external data needed to understand how competitors were approaching hiring and how big the talent pool was for a position.
Furthermore, when expanding to new positions and locations, they often lacked the experience to know what data to look for, how to cleanse it, and how to make location- and skill set-specific recommendations on labor pricing and hiring difficulty.
Slicing And Dicing The Data
Today, organizations can use technology to better harness data to drive a deeper understanding of billing rates and hiring trends. Machine learning, natural language processing and complex algorithms can be combined to parse through millions of job descriptions, location data, billing rates and other data points to help reveal new insights. Whether they do so on their own or with a market intelligence solution, companies should make sure they’re:
• Comparing locations: How do rates and hiring difficulty for contingent workers shift when you’re looking at different locales? Are there untapped areas that offer better value and faster submittal times? By expanding the search to new locations, your organization may be able to drive cost savings, increase diversity and expand your pool for niche skills.
• Understanding skill sets: What skills are driving higher bill rates for a position? If you remove certain skills from a listing, how does this impact rates and fill times? Some organizations inadvertently inflate rates by including nonessential skills in a job description.
• Comparing client and market: How do the rates you’re paying compare to the broader marketplace? If you’re paying way above market, that might suggest an opportunity to reduce costs, while paying below could lead to less-talented applicants.
• Comparing staffing and payroll: What’s the difference in staffing and payroll rates for a position? Tapping into an organization’s private talent pool to source a position can often drive significant cost savings and faster time to fill.
Augmenting Your Intelligence
While artificial intelligence and other technologies are powering exciting breakthroughs, human expertise remains a critical component of transforming data into meaningful insights.
This human touch may come in the form of your internal data experts, an MSP or an analytics partner that can confirm that the rate recommendations and market intelligence hiring managers receive make sense. This may involve performing additional market analysis to ensure rates, submittal times and candidate pool sizes reflect what the market is doing at a given time. It may also entail an analysis of unusual job titles or remote locations for which data is scarce.
Beginning The Journey
If you’re interested in realizing the benefits better rate and market intelligence can offer, here are some steps you can take to kick-start the process:
1. Understand organizational objectives for talent acquisition and optimization.
Are you focused on certain markets, or are you embracing the “new normal” and opening up hiring strategies globally? Are you looking to cut costs, or are you focused on hiring initiatives that require different strategies (diversity and inclusion, niche skill sets, etc.)?
2. Audit the state of your data.
Do you know what your current labor pricing strategies are, and do you have visibility into rates, markups, time to fill and so on, including internal and market/external data? If you currently pay for data, where does it come from, and how confident are you in the accuracy?
3. Review your job titles.
Is the job title/category taxonomy across the organization consistent or unorganized? A haphazard approach can significantly reduce the quality of your rate intelligence.
The Next Generation Of Business Intelligence
PRO Unlimited polled 10,000 workers in June 2020 to gauge their sentiment on remote work. We found that respondents like working remotely (91%), feel they are more productive working remotely (77%), and would be more interested in jobs that offered a remote option (83%).
If your organization is among the many that will be considering expanding their remote workforce in the future — or is already doing so — enhancing rate and market intelligence so you can strategically utilize these workers will be important. By educating yourself on available solutions and in-house strategies and taking the steps outlined above, you’ll be well positioned to leverage this intelligence to drive cost savings and improve talent quality.
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