CIOs: Are you prepared for the gig economy?

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CIO_Talent War_2

Permanent full-time employment is gradually disappearing and being replaced by contract work and short-term assignments. Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad one, as an IT leader, you need to provide systems that help your organization find and engage skilled contract talent in a tight labor market. That advice comes from Vish Baliga, CTO of SAP Fieldglass, which provides vendor management systems. In an interview with The Enterprisers Project, he defines the challenges of hiring skilled employees in today's world, and how IT can help.

CIO_Q and A

The Enterprisers Project (TEP): Your company has invested its future in managing the relationship between employers and contract employees. Do you see this type of work arrangement increasing?

Baliga: We see an increase of contract employees utilization. To support this claim, Ardent Partners issued research that found 95 percent of organizations consider their contingent workforce to be vital to overall business success and growth, and nearly 70 percent expect to increase it.

TEP: What do you think is driving this trend?

Baliga: The last decade has been an indicator of companies not being able to offer full-time, long-term employment due to constant right sizing. Sometimes because of this, we see loyalty diminishing.

Millennials are contributing to the gig economy because they are interested in doing what they want when they want, and not being tied down for too long. They may have seen their parents, relatives or siblings right-sized and that contributes to how they think of employment as assignments rather than a journey. Millennials tend to seek instant gratification rather than moving up the ladder with one company long-term. The growth of the gig economy allows millennials to do this.

TEP: How can CIOs help their organizations deal with this trend?

Baliga: Since there is such a crucial need for niche talent, there is a greater need for flexible systems that allow companies to stay connected with workers beyond their engagement through the traditional vendor management systems. As CIOs and other tech leaders continue to be mindful that they don't want to lose access to these workers, they need to make it a priority to stay engaged with them as much as possible. For example, you might think about incentivizing your external workforce by offering them a first chance at projects or positions that become available or engaging them with the latest news and updates on the technology they use.

Minda Zetlin is a business technology writer and columnist for She is co-author of "The Geek Gap: Why Business and Technology Professionals Don't Understand Each Other and Why They Need Each Other to Survive," as well as several other books. She lives in Snohomish, Washington.


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