How many years have employers been warned about an approaching “worker shortage,” along with its impact on hiring and budgets? Well, it does seem to be coming closer to reality, if you read the state reports on Unemployment Rates as they relate to unfilled positions.

Business futurist Joyce Gioia, in a year-end forecast for 2018 Workforce and Workplace, says the “war for talent” has arrived.

“Talent shortages are forcing business leaders to take a new look at wages,” Gioia writes, “(and) they will need to weigh the quality of a candidate against the cost to hire him or her.”

She foresees that there will be an increasing focus on the “employee experience” and greater need to be flexible in schedules and work locations.

“(There) will be the mounting demand for flex-time and flex-place, (although) these types of flexibility will be difficult (or impossible) for some employers to offer,” Gioia says. “For them, focusing on any types of flexibility they can offer will be important, while looking at what else they can offer that has a high-perceived value to the employee – and a low cost to them.”

Many also expect to see higher percentages of “contingent” workers in the years ahead.

“Some companies, particularly start-ups, will not even consider hiring an employee full-time, before s/he has completed at least six months as a contractor,” the futurist writes. “Most employees value the flexibility of working as a contractor, and some employers will find themselves negotiating unusual contracts to be able to bring on these talented free agents full-time.”

According to the global staffing agency Ranstad, “many workers are seeking project or consultant-based work, with as much as 61 percent of the workforce choosing 'agile' careers by 2019.”

You can read more about how Joyce Gioia see the future at this link and the entire Ranstad study can be found here.