Navigating the Freelance Revolution: Balancing Autonomy with Supportive Infrastructure

In the wake of the freelance revolution, epitomized by the rise of highly skilled professionals gravitating towards project-based work, the dynamics of the modern workforce are undergoing a profound transformation. The Harvard Business Review article, “Highly Skilled Professionals Want Your Work, but Not Your Job,” illuminates this paradigm shift, underscoring the allure of autonomy and flexibility that draws individuals to gig platforms. While celebrating the opportunities inherent in this shift, it is imperative to acknowledge the crucial role of supportive infrastructure, particularly in the form of staffing companies, like Ursus, in ensuring the well-being and success of independent professionals.

The appeal of project-based work lies in its promise of autonomy, enabling professionals to chart their career trajectories and pursue projects aligned with their skills and passions. However, amidst the allure of independence, it is essential to recognize the significance of robust support systems that safeguard the interests of both freelancers and employers. This is where Ursus and other staffing companies play a pivotal role.

Ursus recognizes the importance of comprehensive screening for both hard and as importantly soft skills, background checks, and proper worker classification in the gig economy landscape. Unlike many gig platforms that may overlook these critical aspects, Ursus prioritizes the welfare of both clients and freelancers by ensuring stringent vetting processes. By conducting thorough background checks and screenings, Ursus mitigates risks associated with hiring independent professionals, safeguarding clients against potential liabilities, and ensuring the integrity of their projects.

Moreover, Ursus understands the importance of proper worker classification, a facet often overlooked in gig platforms where misclassification can lead to legal ramifications and financial penalties. By adhering to regulatory guidelines and ensuring compliance with labor laws, Ursus provides peace of mind to both clients and freelancers, fostering a transparent and ethical work environment.

Beyond mitigating risks, staffing companies like Ursus offer invaluable support to independent professionals, providing access to a myriad of opportunities, professional development resources, and benefits typically associated with traditional employment. From healthcare benefits to retirement plans, Ursus prioritizes the well-being and financial security of freelancers, recognizing their contributions as integral members of the workforce via our Contractor Care team.

While the gig economy offers unparalleled autonomy and flexibility, its sustainability hinges on the presence of supportive infrastructure that addresses the evolving needs of independent professionals. Ursus exemplifies this ethos, championing a holistic approach to talent management that prioritizes integrity, compliance, and well-being. By partnering with staffing companies that prioritize screening, background checks, and proper worker

classification, both clients and freelancers can navigate the freelance revolution with confidence, unlocking new possibilities for collaboration, innovation, and growth.

Are We Overlooking a Crucial Aspect of Workplace Training?

In today’s rapidly changing workplace landscape, the emphasis on training employees to adapt to new challenges and expectations is undeniable. From technical skills to soft skills like communication and teamwork, organizations invest significant resources in ensuring their workforce is well-equipped to succeed. However, amidst this focus on employee development, one crucial aspect seems to be slipping through the cracks: training managers on how to effectively train their employees. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Resume Builder, which polled over 1.5k business leaders, a staggering 45% of companies already offer etiquette training to their employees. Furthermore, an additional 18% of companies plan to implement such training in 2024. While this data highlights a commendable effort to cultivate a professional and respectful workplace environment, it also raises an important question: Why aren’t we prioritizing training for managers to effectively impart these skills to their teams? 

Managers play a pivotal role in shaping the culture and dynamics within their teams. They are responsible for providing guidance, support, and feedback to their employees, which directly impacts productivity, morale, and overall performance. Yet, despite the critical nature of their role, many managers are not adequately equipped with the necessary training and resources to effectively train their employees on important aspects such as workplace etiquette. 

So, why aren’t we investing more in training managers to train their employees effectively? One possible explanation is a pervasive assumption that managerial skills are innate or acquired through experience, rather than through structured training and development programs. However, this assumption overlooks the fact that effective leadership is a skill that can be honed and refined through targeted training and coaching. 

Too often a manager is promoted into management based on their individual performance not necessarily on their ability to train, motivate, instruct, and mentor the employees they oversee. An awesome individual contributor does not by default translate to a great manager. In fact, more often, those newly promoted managers still spend more time on their own production and advancement versus those of their employees.    

Consider the implications of this oversight. Without proper guidance and support from their managers, employees may struggle to internalize and apply the principles taught in etiquette training sessions. Furthermore, managers who lack training themselves may inadvertently perpetuate behaviors that undermine the effectiveness of such initiatives, leading to a disconnect between organizational values and day-to-day workplace interactions. 

Additionally, there may be budgetary constraints or competing priorities that prevent organizations from allocating resources to managerial training initiatives. However, investing in the development of managerial skills can yield significant returns in terms of employee engagement, retention, and organizational performance. 

It’s time for organizations to recognize the importance of training managers on how to train their employees effectively. By equipping managers with the tools, knowledge, and skills they need to facilitate meaningful learning experiences for their teams, organizations can foster a culture of continuous growth and development that benefits everyone involved. Management is a skill, (it’s also a really hard job), and requires a different set of skill sets.  We owe it to all of our employees to make sure we are “training the trainers” regardless of tenure or seniority.  

Rethinking Creative Talent Sourcing Beyond Creative Agencies

In the dynamic digital landscape, the pursuit of creative talent is both crucial and complex. Traditionally, businesses have turned to creative agencies for their expertise, bundling services at a premium. How do we know this?  We regularly provide talent to these creative agencies who then mark up the hourly rates by as much as 100%.  Not only do staffing companies like Ursus offer specialized talent we also address concerns regarding cost, efficiency, and risk mitigation related to worker classification. Let’s delve into why procurement leadership is reevaluating the traditional approach given that creative agencies are struggling to adapt, and exploring the untapped potential of staffing agencies as an option for great creative talent. 

The Markup Conundrum: One prevalent but often overlooked practice in the creative industry is the markup applied by creative agencies when hiring talent sourced from staffing companies. This markup, typically ranging from 2-3 times the original rate, significantly inflates project costs. With market conditions tighter in the last two years procurement leaders are increasingly scrutinizing these markups and asking why. 

Cost Transparency and Efficiency: By engaging talent directly through staffing agencies, businesses gain transparency into the true cost of labor, eliminating the intermediary markups associated with creative agencies who typically price on project-based or statement of work where labor costs are hidden.  This transparent pricing model enables procurement teams to optimize resource allocation, negotiate competitive rates, and maximize cost-efficiency without compromising quality or talent access. 

Risk Mitigation through Compliance: Procurement leadership is taking a proactive stance in addressing compliance risks associated with worker classification. Engaging talent through staffing agencies ensures compliance with labor regulations, mitigating the risk of misclassification and its associated penalties. Staffing agencies assume responsibility for legal compliance, insurance, and payroll administration, providing businesses with peace of mind and operational stability.  Federal and individual states like California are becoming more stringent on worker classification and companies will continue to be more closely scrutinized.  

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Procurement leaders recognize the pivotal role of staffing agencies in promoting diversity and inclusion within the workforce. Staffing agencies actively recruit and advocate for diverse talent, championing inclusivity and representation across industries. By partnering with staffing agencies committed to diversity initiatives, businesses demonstrate their commitment to equity, social responsibility, and innovation. 

But wait, my creative agency has a “bench”! It’s hard to believe that agencies continue to use this pitch and get away with it.  A “bench” suggests there is a room full of talent waiting for the moment your company signs an agreement and can immediately spring into action.  How can anyone afford to keep specialized expensive talent on salary and not deployed? The answer is they can’t! And when they do sign a contract and need to assemble a team, they call us!   Working with creative staffing firms eliminates the middle person and results in significant cost savings!  In an era characterized by agility and efficiency, procurement leaders recognize the need for streamlined processes that facilitate rapid talent acquisition. Staffing agencies offer a scalable and agile solution, leveraging advanced recruitment technologies and extensive talent networks to expedite the procurement process. From talent sourcing and screening to onboarding and deployment, staffing agencies optimize every step, minimizing time-to-fill and enhancing project agility. 

Progressive procurement leadership is redefining the paradigm of talent sourcing in the creative industry, moving beyond traditional creative agencies towards staffing agencies that offer transparency, efficiency, compliance, and strategic value. By challenging the status quo and embracing innovative procurement practices, businesses can optimize resource utilization, mitigate risks, and unlock the full potential of their creative endeavors. The era of high markup project work is giving way to a new era of cost-effective, agile, and inclusive talent solutions, driven by evolving needs and priorities and delivered by digitally fluent staffing companies like Ursus!  

Navigating the Spectrum of Creative Talent Hiring: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Business

As the digital revolution continues to gain momentum, the demand for creative talent has skyrocketed as companies recognize the critical role of creativity in driving innovation and competitive advantage. Whether you’re a burgeoning startup, a medium-sized enterprise, or a large corporation, the challenge of sourcing and retaining top-tier creative professionals remains a constant.

The interdependence of the CIO and CMO is as important as ever before. In a blog post, I wrote earlier this year, I noted that the acceleration of the digital transformation movement has, in parallel, also transformed the CMO and CIO job responsibilities and required skill sets and talent requirements. Almost one-third of CMOs today are leading their company’s digital transformation agendas, requiring them to forge close relationships with the CIO to deliver on the MarTech stack and digital environment. Similarly, the CIO must provide a quality of service not judged only by uptime SLA, but also by delivering a user-friendly, consumer-like experience on par with the latest trending consumer apps. The once siloed walls are coming down and the once-traditional lines of demarcation are blending into more tightly collaborative projects, often with interchangeable department talent and skills.

As you embark on this journey to build your marketing and creative teams, exploring various hiring options becomes imperative. Let’s delve into the spectrum of creative talent acquisition and explore the options available and the distinct advantages and potential challenges.

Full-Time Hire:

The traditional route of bringing on full-time creative talent involves hiring individuals as permanent employees within your organization. Full-time hires often align seamlessly with the long-term vision of your company, enabling a deep understanding of your brand ethos and objectives. Moreover, full-time employees are fully integrated into the organizational culture, potentially leading to enhanced collaboration and creativity. However, this method can be costlier, involving comprehensive benefits packages and higher salaries.

Marketing and Creative Agencies:

Collaborating with marketing and creative agencies presents a compelling option for businesses seeking access to a diverse pool of specialized talent. These agencies offer a breadth of expertise, often comprising teams of professionals skilled in various creative disciplines. Engaging with an agency allows for a fresh perspective on your brand and creative projects, and the collective experience of the agency team can deliver innovative solutions. This option offers the advantage of tapping into a well-established network of industry experts and experienced creatives; however, this approach can be significantly more expensive, and often the talent assigned to projects may not be the “A-team” despite the high rates.

On-Demand or Gig Platforms:

Platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com have gained prominence in recent years, offering businesses the flexibility to hire creative professionals on a project-by-project basis on demand. These platforms provide access to a global talent pool, enabling you to discover specialized skills tailored to your specific project requirements. The on-demand model is particularly beneficial for businesses with fluctuating workloads or those in need of short-term creative assistance. However, managing remote freelancers may pose challenges related to communication, coordination, quality control, worker classification, background and skills screening, and access to proprietary information.

Contractors via Staffing Agencies like Ursus:

Staffing agencies like Ursus cater to businesses seeking specialized creative talent on a contract basis. Staffing agencies streamline the recruitment process, offering access to pre-vetted professionals with expertise in diverse creative fields at a fraction of the price of creative agencies. Leveraging staffing agencies allows for a more targeted approach to talent acquisition, ensuring that you find the right fit for your project requirements. Contract-based engagements provide flexibility and cost-effectiveness, as you can scale your creative team as needed without the long-term commitment of full-time hires or the price of creative agencies.

Sourcing creative talent involves careful assessment of needs, budget, and project scale, and choosing more than one option is very common. Full-time hires, creative agencies, Upwork, and Ursus each have their strengths and limitations. Combining different talent sources can help build a diverse team that meets deadlines and business goals, tailored to budget, timeline, and required skill sets.

AI and The Surging Demand for Data Talent in Pharma and Biotech: A Prescription for Success 

In the rapidly evolving landscape of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, data has become the lifeblood of innovation.   AI and machine learning can help us make more sense of it. One possible result: better medicines, developed faster, to treat or cure many more patients.  The marriage of cutting-edge science and advanced data analytics is transforming the way these industries operate. As a result, there is an unprecedented demand for data talent in pharma and biotech, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.  

Ursus has seen a rapid increase in demand for data scientists, engineers, and analysts that were historically coveted primarily by the tech giants but are now heavily recruited by pharmaceutical companies both large and small. There are over 250 well-funded startups that have integrated AI into their research workflows and pose a potential threat to large pharma.  To succeed in this competitive market, pharma companies of all sizes and evolutionary states will need to radically change the way they work to attract this talent necessary to keep pace.  

The Data Revolution in Pharma and Biotech 

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are facing immense pressure to deliver breakthroughs, from developing novel drugs to improving patient outcomes. Traditionally, these industries have relied on biology and chemistry to drive their innovations. However, the advent of big data and advancements in computing power have ushered in a new era.  AI-driven drug development has arrived.  

Here are some key factors contributing to the AI, and data revolution in pharma and biotech: 

  • Genomics and Personalized Medicine: The sequencing of the human genome and the rise of personalized medicine require vast amounts of genomic data analysis. Data scientists are essential for identifying genetic markers, predicting disease risks, and tailoring treatments to individual patients. 
  • Drug Discovery: In silico drug discovery, powered by machine learning algorithms and data analysis, has accelerated the identification of potential drug candidates. Data experts play a crucial role in sifting through immense chemical datasets to identify promising compounds. 
  • Clinical Trials: Clinical trial data is becoming increasingly complex and vast. Data professionals are needed to design trials, manage patient data, and analyze outcomes to ensure the safety and efficacy of new treatments. 
  • Real-World Evidence: Leveraging real-world data from electronic health records and wearable devices is essential for post-marketing surveillance and optimizing treatment strategies. Data scientists are indispensable in analyzing this data to inform decision-making. 
  • Supply Chain Optimization: Streamlining the supply chain is critical in ensuring timely and efficient drug manufacturing and delivery. Data analytics can help optimize inventory management, reducing costs and preventing shortages. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Regulatory bodies are demanding more comprehensive data to assess drug safety and efficacy. Data talent is needed to ensure compliance and facilitate regulatory submissions. 

The Skills in Demand 

The demand for data talent in pharma and biotech spans a wide range of roles and skill sets. Here are some of the key positions that are highly sought after: 

  • Data Scientists: These professionals are responsible for developing machine learning models, conducting statistical analysis, and uncovering insights from complex datasets. They play a pivotal role in drug discovery and clinical trial optimization. 
  • Bioinformaticians: Bioinformaticians specialize in biological data analysis, particularly genomics and proteomics. They are instrumental in identifying genetic markers and biomarkers for disease diagnosis and treatment. 
  • Clinical Data Managers: Ensuring the integrity and quality of clinical trial data is critical. Clinical data managers oversee data collection, validation, and reporting, ensuring that trials meet regulatory requirements. 
  • Data Engineers: Data engineers are responsible for building and maintaining the data infrastructure necessary for storing and processing large datasets. They create pipelines that enable data scientists to work efficiently. 
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialists: These professionals bridge the gap between data teams and regulatory authorities, ensuring that data submissions comply with regulatory standards. 
  • Supply Chain Analysts: Optimizing the supply chain requires data-driven decision-making. Supply chain analysts use data to enhance inventory management and distribution logistics. 

Why Data Talent Matters 

The demand for data talent in pharma and biotech is not merely a trend; it’s a necessity for survival and innovation. Here’s why data professionals are indispensable: 

  • Accelerated Innovation: Data-driven insights can significantly speed up drug discovery and development, potentially saving lives and reducing costs. 
  • Improved Patient Outcomes: Personalized medicine, enabled by data analysis, leads to more effective treatments tailored to individual patients, enhancing their quality of life. 
  • Cost Reduction: Data analytics can identify inefficiencies in processes, leading to cost savings in drug manufacturing, clinical trials, and supply chain management. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring data integrity and compliance with regulations is essential to getting new drugs to market and maintaining a company’s reputation. 

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are undergoing a seismic shift towards AI, data-driven innovation. The demand for data talent is surging as these sectors recognize the critical role data professionals play in accelerating discovery, improving patient outcomes, and ensuring regulatory compliance. For those considering a career in these fields, there has never been a more exciting time to join the data revolution at the intersection of science and technology. As the demand for data talent in pharma and biotech continues to grow, the prescription for success is clear: embrace data or risk falling behind in this dynamic and ever-evolving landscape. 

For more information on Ursus and the data talent we provide to the pharmaceutical industry visit us at ursusinc.com  

Corp-to-Corp Software Development Talent: Risk Aversion, Bias, or Missed Opportunity?

The world of software development has witnessed a significant shift towards embracing contract-to-contract (C2C) engagements, also known as corp-to-corp engagements. Corp-to-corp software development candidates are independent contractors who provide their services to businesses on a contract basis. Companies often opt for C2C arrangements to address temporary staffing needs, tap into niche expertise, or complete projects with limited time frames or budget. While this approach offers flexibility and access to specialized skills, it also presents challenges, particularly when it comes to risk and in many cases bias. When implemented correctly, it is an extremely effective model to find quality development talent at a time when resources are scarce.

Addressing Risk Factors:

While C2C hiring can be advantageous in some scenarios, it also brings inherent risks that organizations must be aware of to ensure a successful partnership. Below is a list of concerns and answers to mitigate risk.

  • Lack of Direct Control: When hiring Corp-to-Corp software developers, businesses often have limited control over the day-to-day activities of the contractors. Unlike full-time employees or traditional vendors, C2C developers operate independently and may have multiple clients simultaneously. This can result in difficulties in monitoring their progress, adherence to project timelines, and protecting sensitive data.
  • Mitigation: Establish clear communication channels, project milestones, and expectations from the outset. Regular check-ins and status updates are essential to stay on top of the development process and ensure alignment with project goals.
  • Intellectual Property and Data Security Concerns: Sharing proprietary information and sensitive data with external contractors can be a risky endeavor. There is always a possibility of data breaches, accidental leaks, or unauthorized use of intellectual property. Ensuring the protection of confidential information becomes paramount when dealing with C2C software developers.
  • Mitigation: Implement stringent security measures, confidentiality agreements, and non-disclosure clauses. Conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and ensure data protection compliance.
  • Legal and Compliance Risks: The legal implications of Corp-to-Corp hiring can be complex, especially if there are issues related to employment classification or tax obligations. Misclassifying C2C contractors as employees can lead to severe legal consequences and financial penalties.
  • Mitigation: Consult with legal experts and tax professionals to ensure compliance with relevant employment laws and regulations. Draft thorough and clear contracts that outline the terms of engagement and the independent nature of the relationship.

Addressing Hiring Bias:

  • Unconscious Bias: Even with the best intentions, unconscious biases can seep into the hiring process. These biases may be based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, or educational background. Unconscious bias can lead to overlooking qualified candidates and hampering diversity and inclusion within the team.
  • Client Prejudices: Sometimes, the client’s biases can impact the selection of corp-to-corp candidates. Clients may favor candidates from specific educational institutions, geographic regions, or with certain work experiences, potentially disregarding equally competent professionals from different backgrounds.
  • Skill Set Stereotypes: Biases can emerge based on traditional stereotypes associated with certain skill sets. For instance, assuming that individuals from specific demographics are more adept at certain programming languages or technologies, which is simply not true.
  • Cultural Fit Overshadowing Competence: The emphasis on cultural fit can inadvertently overshadow a candidate’s actual competence. While cultural fit is essential for team cohesion, it should not be the sole deciding factor, as it may lead to a lack of diversity and innovation.

Promoting Fairness and Inclusion:

  • Standardized Evaluation Criteria: Establishing clear and objective evaluation criteria for corp-to-corp candidates helps minimize bias. Focusing on technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and project experience ensures that hiring decisions are merit-based.
  • Diverse Interview Panels: Encouraging diverse interview panels brings a variety of perspectives to the evaluation process. This diversity can counterbalance biases and ensure a fairer assessment of candidates.
  • Anonymized Resumes: To eliminate initial bias, companies can adopt an anonymization process for reviewing resumes, which conceals identifying information like names, genders, and photographs.
  • Inclusive Language in Job Descriptions: Crafting inclusive job descriptions that highlight required skills rather than specific backgrounds can attract a broader range of candidates.

A missed opportunity for some can mean competitive advantage for others. In the fast-paced world of software development, embracing corp-to-corp arrangements can undoubtedly mean a competitive advantage for clients who embrace this talent model. New legislation introduced this month would double the annual cap on H-1B visas to 130,000 and provide additional funding for science, technology, engineering, and math programs at US elementary and secondary schools. Currently, the number of H-1B visas is limited to 65,000 each year, although there are an additional 20,000 available to workers who have a master’s degree or higher from a US university. By promoting fairness, diversity, and inclusion in hiring, companies can unlock the full potential of a talented and varied workforce.

Amidst the AI revolution, why job descriptions hold greater significance than ever before

In today’s competitive job market, attracting and hiring top talent can be a daunting task for employers. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), it becomes even more crucial to craft unique and thoughtful job descriptions that capture the attention of both human candidates and automated systems. Gone are the days of generic, one-size-fits-all job postings. Done right, you set yourself up for growth. Done wrong, and you may be up hiring the wrong people, paying unfairly, and spending thousands of dollars retraining and re-hiring.   

Prior to the arrival of ChatGPT estimates showed that the average job description was the result of on average 17x cut and pasted prior versions lifted off the internet or shared by a colleague.  This copycat behavior will only get worse with rise of AI generated job descriptions.   If everyone is using ChatGPT to write a job description for example, a .NET developer, how is your company’s job posting going to stand out amongst the dozens if not hundreds of similar job postings?   If your job descriptions uniquely capture your company the opportunity, the “tone” of your business and is constructed properly, candidates will notice the level of detail and thought about the job and your company versus your competitors.  

Some important considerations to consider while writing your job descriptions.  

Reflecting Company Culture: 

A well-crafted job description serves as a window into a company’s culture, values, and overall brand identity. It should go beyond a mere list of requirements and responsibilities and instead reflect the unique attributes that make an organization special, your origins and history, culture, community involvement and diversity initiatives with published quantifiable results. With AI playing a growing role in recruitment processes, candidates are often inundated with impersonal job descriptions that fail to capture the essence of a company. By investing time and effort into creating thoughtful and personalized descriptions, companies can stand out from the crowd and attract individuals who align with their core values. 

Attracting Diverse Talent: 

Diversity and inclusion have rightfully become top priorities for companies worldwide. However, traditional job descriptions have often unintentionally perpetuated bias by using generic language that appeals to a limited pool of candidates. AI-powered hiring systems can inadvertently perpetuate this bias if fed with biased job descriptions. Do you even know the origin of the content generated from the AI engine?  Employers must consciously strive to craft inclusive descriptions that appeal to a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. By utilizing thoughtful language, emphasizing inclusion, and avoiding gendered or biased terms, companies can cast a wider net and tap into a more diverse talent pool. 

Optimizing for AI Screening: 

As AI plays an increasingly prominent role in candidate screening, it’s essential to optimize job descriptions to enhance compatibility with automated systems. AI algorithms analyze various factors to match job descriptions with applicant resumes. By using targeted keywords, relevant industry terminology, and specific qualifications, organizations can increase their chances of being matched with the right candidates. However, caution should be exercised to strike a balance between tailoring descriptions for AI and maintaining an authentic and human touch. Never, ever forget, humans buy from humans.  

Showcasing Opportunities for Growth: 

Job seekers, particularly those who are motivated and ambitious, seek growth opportunities in their careers. A unique job description should not only outline the responsibilities and qualifications but also highlight the potential for professional development and advancement within the organization. You want to attract candidates that are looking for a career not just a job.  Emphasizing training programs, mentorship opportunities, or a clear career path can attract candidates who are eager to learn and progress. By demonstrating a commitment to employee growth, companies can attract top talent who seek long-term opportunities and can contribute significantly to their success. 

Enhancing Candidate Experience: 

Crafting unique and thoughtful job descriptions goes beyond attracting candidates; it also impacts their overall experience with the hiring process. A well-written description sets clear expectations, provides relevant information, and engages candidates. By presenting a comprehensive and appealing overview of the role and the company, employers can create a positive impression from the initial stages, fostering enthusiasm and encouraging candidates to invest in the application process. This can result in a higher-quality applicant pool and a more efficient and effective recruitment process.

Adhering to pay transparency and avoiding legal exposure:

Job descriptions can defend the reasoning behind why a position is exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). By outlining a job’s requirements and defining performance standards, the job description will help to justify your employment decisions and reduce your organization’s exposure to costly litigation.  A job hierarchy is the foundation of your pay structure. By listing out the duties and requirements for a specific role in your job description, you explain why a position is compensated in a particular way. You can also easily compare roles in various pay markets to price competitively to help attract top talent. 

Full Time v Contract Employment: The Pros & Cons of Each

With the spate of recent full time employee layoffs in the technology sector, many candidates are now starting to entertain contract opportunities given that fewer full time or “permanent”, (is any job permanent in this market?), roles are available. Despite the contingent labor market representing over $200B in spend last year, our sales and recruiting teams frequently engage with hiring managers and job seekers who are not familiar with the contingent or contract model.

For those job seekers weighing their options or choices, assuming you are lucky enough to have a choice, we thought it would be helpful to outline the pros and cons of each engagement model. There is no better or worse here, just different.

Full-time Employment:

Pros:

  • Benefits: Employers often provide benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off to their full-time employees. However, established contingent staffing firms, like Ursus, do over comparable healthcare insurance and retirement benefits.
  • Job Security (maybe see recent headlines): Full-time employees traditionally have held job security as they are less likely to be laid off or lose their jobs unless the company undergoes significant changes or restructuring.
  • Opportunities for growth: Full-time employees have more opportunities for growth and development within the company, including promotions, training, and learning opportunities.

Cons:

  • Lack of Flexibility: Full-time employees have less flexibility in their work schedules and are required to work set hours.
  • Limited autonomy: Full-time employees may have limited autonomy and control over their work, as they are often required to follow the company’s policies and procedures.
  • Limited earning potential: Full-time employees are limited to their salary and may not have the opportunity to earn more unless they receive a promotion or raise which can often take years via promotion cycles.

Contract Work:

Pros:

  • Flexibility: Contract workers have more flexibility in their work schedules and can often work remotely. Many contractors work for a one or two years, then take longer stretches of time off, that may not be acceptable as a full-time employee.
  • Higher Earning Potential: Contract workers can charge higher rates for their services and have the opportunity to earn more money. This is especially true of highly skilled workers that complete projects at a faster cadence than may even be available to a full-time employee who is limited by the organizational structure of their employer.
  • Autonomy: Contract workers have more autonomy and control over their work, including time off, location and choosing what projects and companies they want to work and for how long.
  • Variety: Contract work provides the opportunity to work on different projects for different companies, which can be more interesting and challenging. Engineers and designers are typically drawn to working on the latest and greatest, coolest stuff!

Cons:

  • Cost of Benefits: Some contract workers pay for their own healthcare insurance out of pocket to ensure continuity as they move from project to project. However, established contingent staffing firms, like Ursus, do over comparable healthcare insurance and retirement benefits.
  • Project Length Uncertainty: Contingent labor is just that, contingent. Many companies leverage contingent workers to take advantage of the flexibility of scaling headcount up or down quickly without incurring severance or payouts to full-time employees. But again, is any job permanent, safe or guaranteed in this market?
  • Fewer Growth Opportunities: Contract workers may have limited opportunities for growth and development within a specific company compared to full-time employees. However, it is very common companies to convert contingent workers to full-time employees at any time during their engagement or even setting up “try before you buy” engagements with the contractor often referred to as a “contract to hire.”

Full-time employment and contract work both have their pros and cons, and the decision of which to choose ultimately depends on your personal preferences, career goals and the number of job opportunities at any point in time. Job seekers should always explore both options and consider career goals, short- and long-term financial needs, and work-life balance when deciding between full-time employment and contract work. One is not better than the other….just different.

AI Washing Is Lazy

No lie, I must receive twenty sales calls a week for companies claiming to offer the staffing AI solution that will, “change the game” or “revolutionize the industry” or even “eliminate the need for recruiters. Sometimes I play along and ask for more information or even take time for a quick demo. I will admit, there are some pretty slick solutions coming to market that could potentially drive efficiency, accuracy and improved client and contractor experience. But for every piece of technology, I see that makes me stop, look, think and maybe even decide to evaluate there are twenty times the number that I laugh at and quickly dismiss the companies as AI Washers!

“AI washing” refers to the practice of companies or individuals making exaggerated or misleading claims about their use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their products or services, often for marketing or publicity purposes. This can include companies claiming to use AI when they are only using basic algorithms or statistical models, or making promises about the capabilities of their products that go beyond what is currently possible with AI technology.

The term “AI washing” is similar to other technology-related buzzwords, such as “greenwashing” (exaggerating the environmental benefits of a product) or “cloud washing” (exaggerating the extent to which a product uses cloud computing).

AI washing can be harmful because it can mislead customers and investors into thinking that a product or service is more sophisticated or capable than it actually is, which can lead to disappointment, wasted resources, or even harm. It can also undermine trust in AI as a field by promoting unrealistic expectations and obscuring the genuine achievements of companies that are using AI effectively.

Wait, you mean a chat bot, is not AI? A search bar that maps job opening, location and job seeker is not AI? It’s laughable but also irresponsible and just plain lazy. Hopefully the shrewd buyer can see through the hype and vet the real disrupters from those drafting off yet another technology movement. In the meantime, to the actual technologist who are developing, innovating and disrupting stay true to your mission and know the cream will and always does eventually rise to the top.

The Silicon Valley Bank Collapse: Why Startups Need to Leverage Contingent Talent Now More Than Ever.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has sent shockwaves throughout the startup community. With down round valuations and full-time layoffs becoming the norm, it’s more important than ever for startup companies to find ways to develop, support, and sell their products while operating on a lean budget.

Traditionally, startups would shirk at the idea of contractors, preferring to hire full time technical and creative talent and ideally those with pristine pedigree from other well-established companies. As of Monday, this operating model may not be realistic as venture firms tighten funding and, in some cases, become more involved, or at least aware of their investments.

Labor costs are typically the single largest cost center for any company, startup, global enterprise, and everything in between. One-way startups can reduce burn rates while still building, supporting, and selling products and services is by leveraging contractors, instead of relying solely on full-time employees. For the uninitiated startup founders, below are some benefits of using contractors and how startups can effectively manage them to ensure success.

Benefits of Using Contractors

⬤ Cost-Effective: One of the most significant benefits of using contractors is the cost savings. Unlike full-time employees, contractors are not entitled to benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off. This allows startups to save a considerable amount of money on labor costs.

⬤ Flexibility: Contractors offer startups the flexibility to scale their workforce up or down as needed. This is particularly useful for startups that are just starting out and may not have a clear idea of how many employees they will need in the future or if they need to pull back on resources due to delays in funding or even down rounds. The “try before you buy” model provides the opportunity to evaluate talent in your real-world environment versus via resume, interview, code challenges and references.

⬤ Access to Top Talent: By leveraging contractors, startups can tap into a vast pool of talent. Contractors are often experts in their field and have a wealth of experience that can be invaluable to startups looking to develop new products or services.

⬤ Reduced Legal and Benefits Management: Hiring full-time employees comes with a host of legal and benefit obligations, such as complying with labor laws and providing competitive benefits. By using contractors, startups can avoid many of these legal obligations as they are now managed by the staffing provider who serves as the employee of record.

The recent report by staffing firm Robert Half, found that more than half of US companies plan to add jobs in the first half of 2023 and two-thirds of those polled will leverage contract talent. This is not only a positive sign for the overall U.S. job market, but the fact that companies are increasingly turning to contract workers to meet their staffing needs also indicates a shift towards more flexible and cost-effective solutions in the workforce.

The startup world has changed overnight, those companies that adapt, stay nimble by responding to the new market conditions will prevail while those who continue to run the “old’ playbook may fall behind or even fail.