From education to employment

The best brains are going freelance #FutureofWork

The gig economy is changing the way we work and get things done. An increasing number of working professionals are making the transition from full-time work to freelancing or remote work and finding platforms through which they can offer their services.

Here Ramya Sriram, digital content manager of online platform for freelance scientists Kolabtree, discusses three major benefits of hiring freelancers.

Nasdaq reports that by 2020, 43 per cent of the workforce will be freelancers. It’s up to businesses to tap into this huge pool of resources available to them. Small businesses and start-ups in particular can benefit from hiring freelancers.

The best brains are moving towards freelancing

Some of the best specialists and subject matter experts recognize that they have in-demand skills and are looking for opportunities to offer them to potential clients.

PhDs, postdocs, researchers and experts in rapidly advancing fields like AI, data science and robotics are starting to take up contract work either full-time or part-time. Small business see a great opportunity here — they can access these experts on demand, when they cannot afford to hire full-time, in-house.

Small business and start-ups typically employ graduates, not professionals with decades of experience. But they need hand-holding from an expert when they launch a specific product, scale up, or need to troubleshoot a specific problem.

The transitioning of traditional employees to freelance workers allows small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to draw on a wider pool of resources without having to compromise on quality.

In the European Union, the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP) reports that independent professionals (iPros) make up 25 per cent of all those working in professional, scientific and technical work.

The number of iPros have increased from under 6.2 million in 2004 to 8.9 million in 2013, making them the fastest growing group in the EU labour market.

Hiring freelancers helps you stay lean and efficient

Small businesses are always seeking out cost-effective strategies to keep their businesses lean and profitable. Larger companies understand they can cut costs by giving employees the option of telecommute and/or freelance work.

The Global Workplace Analytics states that if companies allowed their employees to work from home just half the time, a typical business would save $11,000 per person per year.

As more employees walk away from traditional work arrangements, start-ups can tap into a larger resource pool to fill their skill gaps. Hiring remote and contract workers allows them to avoid all the traditional costs of hiring full-time employees, without having to make a compromise on the quality of talent.

Access a global resource pool

For small businesses, hiring can be a nightmare. They are often unable to attract high-quality talent due to geographical barriers and budget constraints.

Freelancing helps break geographical restrictions and policy barriers and allows small companies to hire overseas contract workers without burning a hole in their pockets.

On-demand platforms make the job easier by connecting client to freelancer and vice versa. Kolabtree helped a US-based Amazon reseller to hire a data analyst from the Netherlands. 

The company also enabled a US-based food start-up to hire a UK-based food scientist for help making gluten-free bread — they even exchanged samples until the client was happy with the outcome.

The world is getting smaller, making it easier for cross-border collaboration and innovation to thrive. If small businesses need to get ahead of the curve, they need to tap in to the expertise and knowledge of the freelance workforce available to them. Only then can they grow quickly, while remaining sustainable.

Ramya Sriram, Digital Content Manager, Kolabtree

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