More people are taking up temporary and shift work post-lockdown with the ONS reporting a 13.5% uplift in temporary workers from July to November 2021 compared with the year prior.
One reason for the uplift is that more people want the flexibility to work where and when they want, with the traditional 9-5 proving less popular for some. Be that as it may, employers still have shifts to fill and many still want to see stability in their workforce – temporary or otherwise.
Unfortunately, employers have long struggled with transparency in this sector. Questions around who is showing up for what shift and how qualified those workers are form two of the biggest issues in the temporary recruitment sector and, in particular, facilities management (FM), which covers areas such as catering, security and cleaning. Fortunately, tech holds the answer.
As all investors know, where there are pain points, there are opportunities, and this is one of the observations that drew us to invest in our 26th portfolio company, Orka Technology Group, which has created a suite of SaaS products to bring speed, transparency and reliability to the FM world.
A market leader, the Manchester tech company is behind Orka Works, a labour-as-a-service platform that uses machine learning to connect the right people with the right roles. As well as Orka Works, which is solving recruitment problems every day for major FM companies right now, there is Orka Pay (a staff-focused pay management tool) and Orka Check. The latter is an industry game changer with use cases outside of FM that will allow companies to validate security qualifications and work histories in minutes rather than weeks when it launches later this year.
But what separates Orka from other companies who have tried and failed to address a lack of reliability and transparency within the facilities management and temporary working space?
Often, we find businesses that can demonstrate value on multiple fronts are much more likely to be embraced by a specific sector. The same is true of another of our portfolio companies in Coadjute, which brings different parties within a housing transaction together to boost efficiency.
Like all great SaaS providers, Orka’s founders understand the problems their customers (G4S, Allied Universal, etc.) are experiencing in the market. This allows Orka to consider all pain points and address problems with staff recruitment, transparency, retention, training, verification and payment.
While facilities management may not seem like the most glamorous space, it’s importance in society amid changing work habits (increases in temporary and shift work for parts of the UK workforce are likely to continue) has played a major factor in our decision to invest in Orka.
As for the broader picture, the timing couldn’t be more optimal for a company like Orka to scale and challenge the status quo, with tech enabled-recruitment solutions experiencing a boom on the back of the pandemic and machine learning-focused SaaS bringing about major improvements in a sector that has long relied on endless paperwork to place staff at scale.
– The percentage of people in temporary roles jumped by 13.5% between July and November last year [ONS]
– More than 60,000 people already use Orka’s products, making it the go-to tech solution for shift workers [Orka]
– The Facilities Management (FM) industry was accountable for more than 8% of the UK’s GDP in 2020 [British Institute of Facilities Management]