Orka: Getting 2 Million People Back in Work Is Going to Take Tenacity… and Technology

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Worker-tech is changing the way employees look for jobs and the way employers recruit, but with even more speed and necessity thanks to the pandemic.

Tom Pickersgill is the chief executive of Orka and on a mission to make life easier for the hourly paid workforce. Here he shares his thoughts on how worker-tech will be essential to helping people get back into work as unemployment figures soar.

Tom Pickersgill Co-founder and CEO of Orka Technology GroupTom Pickersgill Co-founder and CEO of Orka Technology Group

With UK unemployment projected to reach 2.6 million by mid-2021, helping people get back into work has never been more important. This is no mean feat though and we’re going to have to think outside of the box if we’re going to succeed.

Against the backdrop of a poor economic forecast and an increasingly competitive jobs market, one advantage that we do have on our side is technology, which has huge potential to move the dial when it comes to recruiting and applying for jobs. We were already starting to see some of the positive impacts of technology on HR and the jobs market before the pandemic.

When it comes to getting people back into work, one area which will be key to recovery is shift work or temporary jobs, which can provide a solution or stop-gap for many who have been made redundant during the pandemic and are struggling to make ends meet. Currently, these types of jobs account for 85% of the global workforce.

However, recruitment processes for this type of work have been stuck in a dark age for too long now. Too often they’re laborious, outdated and time consuming with people spending hours on applications for similar roles and interview preparation. Employers also incur huge costs recruiting, on-boarding and managing administration in a job sector with a typically very high turnover rate.

Worker-tech, as we now know it, is revolutionising these traditional practices and helping get more people into hourly-paid work quickly and efficiently. It has enabled the development of job market platforms, such as Orka Works, to help temporary workers easily find, apply to and manage shifts by matching them to specific roles and opportunities using algorithms. With an employee’s details and record of employment saved on the database, there’s no need for multiple job applications, interviews and references – employers have all the information they need at the click of a button.

This type of recruitment also better suits the changing mentality of Britain’s workforce as an increasing number of people place precedence on looking for work that fits around their life and gives flexibility.

Worker-tech brings significant benefits for large employers too. Tech-enabled job platforms conveniently manage recruitment and HR functions, such as helping companies find workers, fill shifts and manage timesheets, saving them time, money and hassle. Employers also have access to a much larger and higher-quality community of workers.

The days of frustrated job seekers spending hours on end on numerous applications only to hear nothing back will be a distant memory thanks to worker-tech. This new alternative creates an accessible, seamless and integrated experience for shift workers which makes their lives easier and removes several entry barriers, such as having to attend in-person interviews, the requirement to complete physical paperwork and registering with multiple job sites and recruiters. By 2029, it’s predicted that 30% of workers could be using worker-tech.

Looking beyond worker-tech as a means of getting people into employment, there’s also an exciting potential for how it can change basic work functions, such as choosing when to access your payslip which services such as Orka Pay are already starting to deliver.

Although this recruitment evolution was already in the works before Covid, the pandemic has accelerated its significance and necessity. Given the current uncertainty, we know that employers are erring on the side of caution when hiring for permanent positions, but worker-tech platforms are providing a solution that works for both sides whilst the economy gets back on its feet. They’re removing the friction from the process of finding a job, which ultimately speeds up the process of people getting back into work, in turn making the economic recovery faster.

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