According to a study by Intuit, more than 40% of American workforce will take independent projects as freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees by the year 2020. The Harvard Business Review calls this trend ‘The rise of the Supertemp’. This brings us to admitting that freelancers are fast becoming an important part of today’s workforce. And, if you have been following the pace at which the freelance economy is on a rise, you will have definitely noticed that there is no dearth of online market places where freelancers can sign-up for free and bag projects and work for people who value talent and pay them what they deserve. Of course, one will always find the penny-throwers, but then they get the same quality work.
A survey conducted by global talent solutions leader, Randstad Sourceright noted that given the rise of freelancer economy in the age of the "war for talent", ‘talent shortage’, is no longer a myth. More than 400 human capital leaders from over 60 countries participated in the survey. They were asked questions related to their business growth, investments made and future investments and how they are preparing for talent innovation.
The findings were published in their 2017 Talent Trends Report. It was found out that in the next one year, two-thirds are likely to hire contingent workers and about one-thirds said that about 30% of their workforce will comprise of consultants, contractual and temporary workers or freelancers.
Apparently then, filling vacancies will not be as painful since everyone is warming up to the idea of hiring freelancers. “I began freelancing to supplement my income and my current organization has no qualms about it. I know people who have traded their permanent jobs for a project-based career because they wanted to enjoy the flexibility of working on their own terms and choosing whom to work for. And, why not? The work is interesting, well-paying even though there’s risk involved. Some people are willing to take that leap of faith. I think what’s interesting is that they are all landing somewhere for there is no dearth of work. One has to be on websites like Upwork to know how much work is being outsourced. It is insane,” says Karthik Nanda, who is Senior Web Developer at a reknowned software solutions firm.
There are no geographical boundaries now, given the fact that technology has effaced it completely. Neha Srivastava, Product and Integration Lead at Outgrow says, “Gone are the days when being physically present at work was important even if work wasn’t getting done. I work for an organization that is globally dispersed. My manager who I report to sits in US while I work from Gurgaon; I have colleagues in Jalandhar, Mumbai and Bengaluru. I am quite happy with the way we function and none of us bother where in the world we work from as long as work’s getting done. They might as well be in bed the whole day, but if our work is in sync, there’s nothing like it. Besides, I just need to make one Whatsapp call or ping them over chat, or schedule a video conference to get updates despite miles separating us. It’s easy and I’m glad this trend of hiring contingent workforce is catching up.”
An Upwork report has found out that one-third of the businesses have used freelancers in 2016 and 55% of these businesses intend to get more freelancers to work for them in 2017. Why they did hire freelancers in the first place is project demands (56%) and lack of talented and available resources in-house (49%). Quite agree that this non-conventional hiring will allow skilled and geographically dispersed people a chance to stay in the game, but as someone from the HR industry, will you be more accepting of this new staffing process or in other words – are you ready for this freelance makeover?
Parting note: If you are interested in reading about the origin of the word, ‘freelance’, head here.