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Human Clouds on the Horizon

By January 14, 20162 Comments

Hello recruiters of New Zealand and beyond, it’s just lovely to see you again.  We’re still in that fuzzy period where our brains reluctantly haul themselves away from holiday mode and try to fit themselves back into the world of work.  For many, it’s even harder than squeezing our lightly tanned and sea soaked feet back into the purgatory of leather work shoes.  Which is probably why I’m still in jandals today.

Judging by the fact it’s currently possible to drive into Auckland with barely any need for the brake pedal many of you haven’t actually made the full transition yet.  But hey, it seems about the right time to wheel out the old Whiteboard again and hunt around for the box of marker pens.  We will have a new-look website and Whiteboard blog for you by the end of February but for now you’ll have to make do with this rickety old thing.

So where to begin?  Maybe I should continue with the concept of commuting, or more specifically the anguished and desperate pain that commuting in Auckland has now become.  Because for an increasing segment of the workforce the concept of commuting is becoming something other people do.

As my attention turned back towards industry articles this week, one really stood out for me.  It was about how Uber are now the world’s largest “human cloud” employer, but that Lyft, following their $1 billion capital raising (please tell me they did a “Mini Me” finger to mouth thingy to announce this) will be hot on Uber’s heels.  We’ve all heard plenty about cloud computing in recent years of course, but the term “human cloud” was a new one for me.  Looking into it some more I realised that it’s something I’m totally aware of, even involved in, but hadn’t heard in those terms before.

This article sums it up nicely:

“Through cloud technologies the workforce no longer needs to be tied to a device, desk or fixed location.

We no longer need to wake up to the daily depression of commuting and trudging to the office along with the herds.

The workplace is not a physical office, the workplace is people – people are the workforce. Therefore wherever you choose to work is the workplace, and your the workforce is your business.”

Which all sounds very nice, especially as you stare at the blinking brake lights of the car in front as you crawl along Auckland’s motorways trying to calculate how much annual leave you have left.  But what does it mean for us in recruitment? If businesses really are to run ever leaner core teams of permanent employees whilst tapping into the “human cloud” for specific skills from freelancers depending on what projects demand, then what will it mean for Permanent Recruitment services?

Even Contracting recruitment services, as they currently exist, will struggle to keep pace with the increasing number of portals seeking to connect employers directly to freelance talent.  Even LinkedIn are getting in on the act, launching a new product “Pro Finder” recently that will essentially see LinkedIn become a massive contracting agency for freelance talent.  And it’s not limited to software developers and graphic designers anymore either.  If you recruit Accountants, Lawyers, Engineers, or anything else really, you need to think about how you position your business within this emerging eco-system.

Here in New Zealand we do have time on our side and can watch most of this revolution unfolding in the US from the sidelines.  But it exists here already in growing pockets, so ignore it at your peril.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Kirsty Hunt says:

    Brilliant! Bravo! Captivating thought to kick start 2016! Wish I could upload a photo of the view from my desk this morning, children playing on the green lawn, Tony in the kayak paddling in the blue water just beyond, seagull sitting on the fence post watching the goings on…. while I pay contractors for the hours they’ve also worked in around their family and holidays… this is the life this is the present!

  • ‘Ignore freelancers at your peril’ – You sir, are bang on the money.