There is a quiet revolution going on, one that is changing the ways financial values are stored, exchanged, transacted, and valued. Born out of the ashes of the 2007/2008 global financial crisis, this revolution is not only putting users in control of their funds, but also opening direct channels of communication and transaction without mediation by any human agency. The spectre of the recent global, financial crisis continues to loom over the financial market with aftershocks still rippling across various industry. The employment industry has been hit the hardest. Job instability, limited openings for talented young graduates, and insecurities. The traditional 9-5 labour model is being challenged by the increasingly mobile and nimble gig economy continues to offer the promise of providing better opportunities for employees to determine their path – as long as they can adapt and diversify. Seen as the future of workforce employment, the freelance economy currently accounts for a staggering 34% of the workforce in America and is expected to raise to 43% by 2020.
Businesses tapping into this workforce are being afforded a competitive edge that just does not exist in the traditional labour market, accessing a highly-skilled workforce that offers greater variety and variabilities. This workforce can also be tailored to seasonal needs and changes within any business and ad hoc projects at no additional labour cost. This monumental shift in manpower engagement has carved open a massive opportunity in how workers are recruited and employed. The accelerated mobility and communication afforded by technological advancements is enabling new approaches. Yet, the employment industry has been slow to respond. Just about anybody can post an ad on the internet these days and any freelancer worth their salt has a social media account – or two they often use to showcase their abilities and network.
However, when it comes to recruitment, “traditional” agencies are still the dominant force in the industry evinced by their multi-billion-dollar revenues and global market reach. Adecco and Randstad, two of the biggest players in the market, generated €22.5bn and €20.7bn respectively in 2016 alone, and with over 62,000 combined full-time employees placed annually it’s clear to see there is still value in the conventional agency model. These agencies operate on a very centralized model that is becoming increasingly outdated, inefficient, and plagued by numerous risks and challenges. From archaic search and match tools to isolated portfolio and work engagement ecosystems that cannot be leveraged on other platforms, privacy and security concerns, and just downright duplicity. These dated systems and methodology continue to hinders the employment industry’s effectiveness and ability to scale globally to accommodate and unleash the inherent opportunities in cross-border working.
Most significantly, these challenges have also tarnished the reputation of employment agencies, resulting in huge operational costs that directly impact the customer in the form of hefty service fees. With issues of diversity and equality now at the forefront of most companies’ hiring policies, there is growing pressure to eliminate any factors that could contribute to discrimination. Unfortunately, agencies have often been found culpable of facilitating prejudice among employers and fuelling distrust. This stems from the agencies reliance on intermediaries to make every agreement and transaction work – intermediaries with their own personal agendas and bias. Workers wants to claim back their independence and free themselves from corporate politics, while employers would like to have clear channels of engagement and seeing talents as they really are.
And where there is a problem, there is an opportunity. In recent times, a number of challengers have risen to address these problems, offering technologically driven solutions for a borderless, employment market. Built on the backbone of the same technology powering the gig industry, online platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork and Thumbtack are changing the way freelancers engage new clients providing the freedom and flexibility the market has been craving for. However, while these challengers have made great inroad in adapting recruitment and employment processes, these benefits have an added cost in the form of commission fees – sometimes up to 23%. Worst still, they are yet to get on par with the traditional agencies — a fact reflected in fractional revenue figures and far smaller placement rates So, what went wrong? Wasn’t taking recruitment and employment processes online, enough? Apparently, it wasn’t. The current solutions are more or less playing catch-up to centuries of problems. Any solution that truly wants to solve these problems must get ahead of the curve, using not only the most groundbreaking technological developments available, but also anticipating future trends. With the integration of some of the key pillars of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – big data, artificial intelligence, and most importantly, the blockchain – this solution is here. So, why is the blockchain that important?
Simply, the blockchain makes it possible to trust people online without the need for any middleman through direct, peer-to-peer channels. Instead of middlemen, their human failings and vulnerabilities, we have smart contracts. These smart contracts are self-executing protocols that gives users the ability to set the terms of engagement for any contract and how those terms will be executed without having to rely on a mediator or meet face-to-face. Something critical for the thriving global gig economy. Built into the right business, these innovations can evolve the industry from trust-based (and its attendant problems) to eradicate issues of discrimination, lower fees and enable smoother financial procedures.
This business is Hiway
Hiway is a blockchain-based, global workforce recruitment and employment platform. The platform provides seamless and direct connection connections between workers, employer, and headhunters without borders or boundaries. Consider what AirBnB brought to the hospitality sector and what Uber brought to the transportation network industry; that is our ambition for the job market — but with a decentralised. This is what Hiway is building by leveraging blockchain, smart contracts, big data and AI.
“We believe that Hiway can truly address the challenges holding the rest of the employment industry back, and ultimately empower those looking for a job or wanting a job done in equal measure.”
Name: Simon Rikmenspoel