A new service that enables independent consultants to auction their services to the highest bidder in a echo of the online auction model made ubiquitous by E-Bay looks set to shake up the recruitment market.
Recruitment outfit Global Consulting Group plc (GCG) has launched professionalassociates.com in response to the growing number of free agents who are choosing to go it alone rather than tie themselves to a single employer.
Each consultant can set their own reserve and buy-now price, allowing organisations to bid for the services of consultants for periods of three months, at a true market rate.
After three months, the consultant is then automatically re-listed on the site, allowing other firms to counter bid for their time.
"The market has become increasingly difficult for independent consultants in the last few years," said Fiona McNicol, an independent consultant.
"There are so many agencies that it is impossible to develop a personal relationship with them, making the art of matching the positions available with my skills very hit and miss. professionalassociates.com allows firms to view my specific skills online and bid the market rate for my time. It's a win-win solution for both of us"
The initial focus of the service will be on highly skilled independent consultants, 200 of whom have already been through a selection process.
Ultimately there will be in excess of 1000 consultants listed as available at any given point in time.
The criteria for inclusion are rigorous. All consultants must have either an MBA or a first or second-class degree and have worked at no less than three FTSE 250 or Fortune 500 companies in the last five years.
Alternatively, they need to have at least five years experience working with a professional services firm.
"We have witnessed an explosion in the number of independent professionals in recent years, all trying to match their unique skill set with the demands of employers," explained GCG's Valentine Feerick.
"professionalassociates.com provides an efficient market place where this supply and demand can be perfectly matched."