The Race for Platform Talent: Who is Looking and Why?



Talent is the next frontier of the platform economy. As the number of companies embracing platform strategies has grown, so have the number of postings for platform-related positions. Last year, more than 2,700 companies were on the hunt to fill roles aimed at supporting their platform initiatives based on data collected by the Platform Strategy Institute.


Once an executive team embarks on a platform strategy, they quickly confront the challenge of filling key roles with individuals who have the right knowledge and experience. Part of this talent can be fulfilled by internal candidates with supplemental training and leadership development. However, many companies find that they must look outside the firm as well to fill key roles.


Who is looking?


The search for platform talent can be found across three different kinds of companies. One group is made up of replenishers. These are existing platforms that are seeking talent to fuel continued growth or fill roles that have gone vacant for one reason or another. As might be expected the world’s largest platforms, such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba are active in recruiting platform talent with hundreds of platform positions posted annually. These companies have grown significantly over the past ten years and now have a large base of employees that they must continue to renew to counter natural attrition.


Builders make up another category. This group is made up of startups who are building out their platform talent. These are typically startup companies that have lean operations are seeking to bring on additional individuals with platform skills or they may have reached the stage where positive network effects are driving growth and they require additional platform talent to scale operations.



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A third group is made up of incumbents who are a growing presence in platform talent markets. Since these are often are large complex organizations with entrenched organizational structures and business processes the platform function is often part of digital transformation and therefore run from or linked to the organization’s transformation office.


Conclusion


Talent is the next frontier of the platform economy. Replenishers, builders and incumbents are all actively competing for scarce platform talent posting thousands of open positions each year. Most companies need to become more intentional about their approach to securing platform talent. The companies that build a strong platform talent bench are likely to gain an edge and move to the frontier of a world increasingly dominated by platform business models.

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