Businesses to Increase Use of Robotics and Contingent Workers in 2017, says Report

Businesses are increasingly using robotics in the workplace and a contingent workforce to become more agile and flexible in the changing economy, according to the 2017 Talent Trends Report released by Randstad Sourceright.


Based on a survey of global human capital leaders, the Talent Trends Report found one-quarter of businesses have increased the use of automation and robotics in the past 12 months, while one-third are preparing to increase the use of temporary, contract, consultant, or freelance workers to account for as much as 30% of their workforce.

“Global shifts toward automation and a gig economy have caused businesses to change their talent management strategies to maintain a highly agile workforce,” said Rebecca Henderson, CEO, Randstad Sourceright. “This has resulted in an increased use of contingent talent, which not only has improved the agility of companies but also created a number of new opportunities for workers across the globe.”

A growing concern about talent scarcity may be driving the increased use of automation and contingent workers, according to those surveyed. More than 80% of human capital leaders believe their company will be affected by talent scarcity in 2017.  This concern is also driving innovation in talent strategies and recruiting practices, according to these business leaders.

“Smart companies are eliminating traditional talent silos and building human capital models that incorporate permanent employees, temporary staff, freelancers, contractors and robotics to meet talent needs,” said Michel Stokvis, managing director, Randstad Sourceright Talent Innovation Center. “These companies have brought human resources and procurement functions together in a joint strategy focused on putting the right resource into a role, whether that is a permanent, full-time employee or several contingent workers.”

Everest Group Research estimates that the adoption of an integrated talent approach can save an organization as much as 12% in overall recruitment costs. These savings, coupled with faster talent placement, may be why the Talent Trend Report found 91% of human capital leaders who have embraced integrated talent say they are very satisfied with the investment and why 68% are likely to move toward this approach in the next 12 months.

2017 Talent Trends Report Key Findings

  • Talent Mobilization: 81% of companies surveyed say that talent scarcity will affect their business, and 70% have rising expectations of their workers.
  • Embracing Technology: 77% say they are making an appropriate level of investments in talent innovation, with 47% spending money on recruiting marketing and video interview platforms.
  • The Freelance Economy: 70% say that freelancers are influencing their business, while 50% say the freelance economy is driving growth.
  • Employer Branding: Almost one-third of those surveyed believe that an employer with a visible brand presence will be their biggest competitor for talent acquisition, and 40% say they plan to increase spending on employer branding over the next 12 months.
  • HR Digitalization: 39% of leaders believe digitalization of HR will have a great influence on business, and 71% say talent analytics play a critical role in sourcing, attracting, engaging, and retaining talent.

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