The CEO of a tech start-up believes that the wide scale job losses being announced as a result of Covid-19 will fuel demand in flexible working.
It’s predicted that UK redundancies could top one million by the end of 2020 and entrepreneur Tom Pickersgill believes flexible working will help get people back into work.
Pickersgill is the CEO of Manchester-based Orka Technology Group, which targets hourly paid workers.
Orka connects its community of 47,000 workers with potential employers, primarily in the security, cleaning, catering and logistics sectors.
Clients include G4S, ISS World and OCS and the business has seen a 200 per cent growth in work shifts posted on its platform, suggesting that the move towards shift-based or hourly work is accelerating post-Covid.
This has been partly credited to the launch of a new product called Orka Pay, which allows hourly paid workers to withdraw up to 50 per cent of their wages as soon as they’ve worked a shift.
Pickersgill, a former professional footballer with Morecambe FC, said Orka Pay had boosted staff recruitment, retention and performance.
He said the old model where workers weren’t paid for 30 days had put off a lot of people from working flexibly.
“As soon as your time sheet has been approved you can draw down on the money in seconds,” he said. “If we offer flexible work we need to offer flexible pay.”
The 31-year-old said flexible working was appealing to multiple demographics, including millennials and retired people wanting to supplement their income.
He said flexible working was a great way of ‘transitioning’ people back into work as the economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic.
Pickersgill first launched Broadstone in 2016, which rebranded as Orka, after recognising that the traditional recruitment and staffing agency model was broken.
It has received £3m in investment and is currently in a new fundraise. The company now employs 27 people.
Pickersgill said he’s using technology to make flexible working as easy as possible including creating one simple vetting process to speed up the time it takes to get people into work.
The Orka platform allows workers to manage shifts from an app and pick and choose jobs.
Former Adecco CEO Peter Searle recently joined their board as a non-executive director and the company has previously spoken out its ambition to get into America.