What does the future of work look like?
This is probably the most prevalent question in the HR and work domain in recent times.
According to Forbes, the year 2022 registered major layoffs around the globe, particularly in the technology sector. Several other companies implemented a hiring freeze until 2023, causing waves of uncertainty and leaving Human Resource professionals with piles of work on their desks – to ensure that outgoing employees transition smoothly and that improved internal conditions were implemented for the remaining team members.
While analysts attribute the large layoffs to the global economic crisis, it raises other troubling concerns. Are skills no longer sufficient to keep a job, or is there a global shortage of necessary abilities? Are youthful talents failing to meet expectations? Whatever the situation may be, one thing is certain: human resource professionals have a lot of work to do. Statista reports that as of 2022, around 42 million people were unemployed in Africa.
Internal talent marketplaces are a great way to help employees explore and apply to open roles, expand their skill sets, take on new projects and build their career paths. They “eliminate the unknown” and give employees more ownership over their careers—and, with the right tech, that can all happen with the click of a button.
A talent marketplace, according to Benefits Pro (the leading source of employee benefits news and trends), helps companies do more than talk about employees owning their careers. It provides a mechanism and processes for employees to explore and choose options inside your company for jobs, projects, learning, mentoring, and networking. For business managers, it provides visibility and access to employees in your organization with combinations of skills and interests to meet the current and future needs of your teams.
To achieve the results at scale and speed, talent marketplaces today are powered by both the dynamics of marketplaces and the power of AI. The market dynamics are the supply of talent, i.e. your employees and their skills, capabilities, interests, and aspirations; the demand for talent, i.e. the needs of your business teams to access people with the desired skills and experiences who can be successful in your company (who are better than your own employees in new roles and gigs in your organization); and the information and insights generated by your talent market providing a growing and real-time visibility into what your employees want and what your business needs.
AI powers talent marketplaces to manage the scale and complexity of a market that might have hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of employees, jobs, gigs, learning opportunities, and workforce requirements. Matching algorithms are a part of it.
A growing part of AI in talent marketplaces is connecting and predicting how employees with different combinations of skills, training, experience, and interest can grow and fill gaps to be better prepared for current and future requirements. AI and talent marketplaces help organizations create the talent they need, not just allocate the talent they think they have.
Investors and VC Firms are keen to invest in Talent Marketplaces for various reasons. This further begs the need to look at VC Firms such as Learn Capital, which focuses on funding entrepreneurs who aim to change the education sector with their ideas of using technology in the education sector. Popular online learning marketplaces, such as Udemy and Coursera are among some of the widely used platforms on the firm’s portfolio.
According to Leul Girma, COO at Gebeya, Africa’s leading freelance and talent sourcing platform, “As 2022 comes to a close, it is clear that the future of work is online and on-demand. This quarter’s massive layoffs at several large tech firms show that organizations are looking to scale down their teams and reduce costs. Businesses looking to scale have needed to shorten their hiring timelines and augment their teams in order to leverage resources as they need them. The typical 2-3 months hiring cycle that requires sifting through hundreds of resumes don’t work for immediate hiring needs and short-term projects. Flexible, nimble team structures are an organization’s superpower.”
Just recently, a $200m Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund (MFAGF) launched to catalyze job opportunities. The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund aims to provide young people, particularly young women, with dignified and satisfying work. The fund of funds is bold and catalytic, assisting in the crowding in of capital for African entrepreneurs by strengthening and de-risking African investment vehicles dedicated to achieving gender equity in entrepreneurship. The MFAGF will provide a business development facility for its portfolio firms in addition to cash for investment vehicles. The program will apply gender lens investment principles to assist in advancing the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works plan, which seeks to provide 30 million African youth, particularly young women, with dignified and meaningful work by 2030. So far, MFAGF has attracted two investment vehicles that encourage entrepreneurial growth – one in East Africa and one in West Africa.
The great resignation, or the great reassessment, are harbingers of what’s coming in the 2020s. Talent marketplaces need to be on the front burner in 2023 as a priority to position companies to dynamically manage evolving workforce expectations, changing work requirements, and the growing needs of businesses to access, redeploy, and develop the talent we need to grow.