January 01, 2015

The New Sources of Talent

The ever-widening skills gap, combined with the current 13-year high in number of job openings, is causing employers to look for new sources of talents. Hiring managers are starting to rely more heavily on non-traditional talent to fill vacant positions and obtain needed skillsets. Currently, according to Ardent Partners, 32 percent of the average company’s overall workforce is considered contingent or contract-based. Ardent predicts that by the end of 2017, almost 45 percent of the global workforce will consist of contingent workers.

Currently, traditional sources of contract talent such as staffing agencies and personal networks encompass the majority of the marketplace. However, over the next few years, the labor market is expected to shift, with social media and social networks and crowdsourcing solutions gaining more momentum.

Private Talent Pools

This source of talent is something that is already known to employers. It consists of alumni and former workers, retirees, and past contingent workers. Private talent pools are able to provide workers who have already earned trust and whose quality has already been measured.

Social Media and Social Networks

Social media and social networks are expected to grow by 60 percent over the next two years. Social platforms, such as LinkedIn, are already serving to connect non-employee talent with companies. Additionally, social media and networks can be used to discover workers with experience in niche industries and hard-to-find skills.

Online labor marketplaces

In 2014, companies looking to find contractors that specialize in fields and industries or for specific projects or tasks are using freelance networks and online marketplaces more often. According to research from Ardent Partners, reliance on online labor marketplaces is expected to grow by 96 percent over the next two years.


Companies are increasingly looking at crowdsourcing to quickly obtain talent and innovation in everything from graphic design to writing to marketing services. Crowdsourcing is becoming a cost-effective means of tapping into global talent on a consistent basis. Ardent Partners expects that this source of talent will grow by over 400 percent through 2016.

The Sources of Contract Talent, Now vs. 2016

The Sources of Contract Talent

Source: Ardent Partners