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Gig Economy

Meeting The Talent Demands Of The Gig Economy

Almost 40% of the US workforce now earns at least 40% of their total income through gig work. A study commissioned by Upwork notes that freelancers will become the majority workforce in the US by 2027.  

Like it or not, the gig economy is here to stay. The term entered common parlance since the meteoric rise of cab aggregators like Uber & Lyft. Since then, the gig economy has consumed job roles across blue- and white-collar industries.  

The hallmark of a gig worker is that they are able to deliver in-demand skills in a time-bound manner for one-off projects. For example, a company that requires a single landing page for their new product would rather hire a gig worker than a full-time web developer.  

Even emerging technologies like AI & ML are increasingly going the way of the gig worker. While actual industry implementation would require a full-fledged team working in-house, enterprises are turning to gig worker to deliver POCs or even just work in a consulting capacity.  

Gig Economy & The Impact On Tech Hiring 

According to a recent study by a major IT consulting firm, ~86% of talent decision-makers plan to increase their use of freelance workers over the next year 

Another ~70% think that the usual corporate bureaucracy is stifling productivity, and hiring gig workers is a suitable short/long term sustainable alternative. Given the competitive market, they are in, freelancers are also shown to be more up-to-date with their skillsets.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that the cloud working model is an acceptable, cost-saving alternative to the traditional cubicle-driven office structure. Even clients of major IT companies who are extremely cautious about how their data is handled are becoming more amenable to remote delivery of services.  

A C-suite executive of Indian IT major Infosys was quoted as saying that the percentage of gig workers will go up to 35% in IT organizations.  

This new breed of gig coders is expected to find numerous opportunities in the domains of AI, data analytics, product engineering and cloud computing.  

HR leaders have also observed that hiring these workers saves them from a lot of paperwork as they can be hired from platforms like TapChief or TopCoders, where they have already completed the onboarding process. All that remains to be done is to estimate their fit vis-à-vis the project requirements.  

This brings us to the main topic at hand. 

Acquiring The Right Gig Worker For Your Project 

  • Matching your gig with the right worker is quite easy as websites like TopCoder – a marketplace with nearly 1.5million freelance engineers, data scientists and designers —  often feature a detailed inventory of worker’s skills, competencies and their prior experience on similar projects.  
  • However, despite this, it would be prudent if the hiring stakeholders conduct a round of interview to fully gauge their experience. This involves setting up an in-house talent acquisition team that is dedicated to vetting freelance portfolios. 
  • Leverage the power of ML-powered algorithms to help with the talent search process. AI-enabled pre-employment assessment tools like HarverHackerRank and others should be used to independently gauge and vet gig workers.  
  • Narrow your search to rich talent pools. In the age of location-agnostic workforce, this might not be a big issue. But location intelligence data extracted from the Draup for Talent platform reveals that there are certain talent hotspots spread across geographies. Restricting your search to workers from these locations will significantly speed up the talent acquisition process. 
  • On the enterprise side, company policies should be adapted to accommodate the flexibility that a gig worker demands. Of course, this should be within reasonable restrictions. Apart from the data security aspect, payment is a significant hurdle to be overcome. While hiring from a freelance platform takes care of this problem, more niche freelancers referred by word-of-mouth might ask for unconventional payments, sometimes even in the form of Bitcoins!  
  • While gig workers are not entitled to the full suite of compensations and benefits that full-time workers are, certain jurisdictions require some basic form of benefits be provided. Depending on where your company is located and where your company is hiring from, this can be a nightmare by itself. Again, Draup’s Location Intelligence tool highlights not just talent availability, but also all the local work permits/documentation and other legal requirements. You can see this in action in our whitepaper analyzing the Hi-Tech Manufacturing industry in Vietnam. Download the report to view the detailed insights. 

Draup for Talent’s proprietary Talent dashboard features talent across 1500 locations and 28 industries. Our talent intelligence platform is loaded with a dataset of 450 million professional profiles. Perform skills analysis for in-demand, niche roles in emerging technologies and gain insights on talent trends of competitors across industries.