I had the pleasure of writing a White Paper this month with Manoj Agarwal, President and CEO of US Tech Solutions around changes impacting on the way large organizations recruit (US Tech is one of the faster growing talent management companies that has a specialist ‘creative staffing’ team serving the digital creatives sector).

It came about because we were debating what changes are likely to happen in the next couple of years to the way organizations recruit talent as they seek to instil greater agility into their businesses.  Given that we’re both originally from the IT industry it became an interesting exercise to parallel the change factors impacting on the IT sector and compare and contrast them to the Talent sector.

I realized that the issue of BIG DATA that everyone seems to be talking about in IT has parallels in talent management.  BIG DATA is about recognizing that the tools and methods adopted by organizations to create, use and consume data in the 20th century world where all data was created and housed by an organizations for its own consumption, have little relevance or suitability for an environment where so much data exists ‘beyond the firewall’ that can add considerably to the insights and therefore opportunities for business professionals to learn and apply knowledge.

Similarly in the talent industry the biggest challenge large employers face is the shortfall in talent that offers employers the best-fit for their organization – given that their needs are changing so quickly.  What organizations really need is a ‘rubber-walled’ talent pool that can adapt to their changing needs for talent as they change.  The 20th century view of talent was that employers could secure talent on permanent contracts to ‘protect their supply’.  This was a great plan in the 20th century when business models were unlikely to change too much over many years, but in the 21st century where business models must be reviewed every year, leaders know they can’t honor a ‘job for life’ promise to employees and they certainly can’t expect to adapt their talent pool quickly enough due to constraints in employment laws to ever consider permanent employment contracts to be a sustainable future.

The answer therefore lies beyond the firewall.  If organizations want to establish flexible talent pools then they have to look at the BIG TALENT sector and consider how they harness talent that exists ‘out there’.

The agencies best placed to service large employer needs for talent is the community of vendors that supply contingent talent that have perfected the soft-skills and back-office processes to service both the needs of employers and the needs of talented individuals seeking employment.  It’s unrealistic in my view to ever expect individuals to ‘be their own agent’ when it comes to talent.  Even outside of the creative arts, people need an agent to do all of the admin and legwork to find the best positions and roles that suit their career path.

I expect in the next two years we’re going to see a blurring of ‘flexible working’ and ‘flexible workforce’.  Many thousands of taleneted people will step out of permanent employment contracts in search of a better work-life balance; people that don’t necessarily want to start their own business, be entrepreneurs or the next Richard Branson, but do want a guaranteed income and a more flexible work-life balance.  And this rich talent community will seek out agencies that specialize in their field, creating the adaptive BIG TALENT pool that industry needs.

To read the WHITE PAPER on BIG TALENT, please visit http://www.slideshare.net/IanTomlin/big-talentthe-next-big-step-in-talent-agility