The traditional employment models are changing, as more and more talent prefer to choose freelancing as a primary work style. Many experts in the industry are calling this freelancing as Gig employment or Talent Employment.
The gig economy is not new for many industries. It is about connecting a person in need with the person who knows to fulfill the need. The companies like Uber, Airbnb, DoorDash, etc have successfully excelled in their domain to enable gig workers on their platform. Freelancing in the IT sector is not a new way of work style. It was there but still was not organized and streamlined. Also, the ongoing pandemic has created a new style of working – Remote working. All these things are fueling the needs of having a distributed and diversified talents.
There is a huge backlog for many enterprises that were accumulated during the pandemic that has to be addressed to manage the business and transition. In many cases, we are seeing a sudden spike in the demand for highly skilled and talented resources. The enterprises are not ready with such talent pools.
From the talent perspective – Managing your work, your time and schedule and your life first and work second is motivating the high skilled workers to look at Gig economy as an alternative to the traditional employment models.
How is the Gig economy in the IT sector different from other industries?
The gig economy ideally connects the talent in need with the right talent. However, in other industries, there are lots of materialistic challenges that have to be taken care of to fulfill the needs. The most important thing is the distance between the need and fulfilling the need. For example, in the case of Uber, they will have to connect the passenger with the driver within certain miles of radius for the best customer experience. The same kind of situation applies to many other industries. The Gig enablers like Uber have to restrict their match-making within a very limited radius. However, in an industry like IT these constraints are not there. Even though there are different laws in different countries regulating the work and workforce, it is not a big hindrance. For Gig in the IT sector, the world is the playground and a person from the US can easily be connected with a person in Indonesia.
How is the IT industry as a whole is undergoing the change?
A) Innovation hubs – These are the large-scale enterprises or product designers or startups or application development planning, consultants. This would follow the same traditional employment patterns as this involves business ideas, intelligent planning, market rollout strategies which are mostly intellectual properties of the business. So the standard employer-employee model would still be in domination in this area.
B) Enablers – These are technology platforms that connect the talents with the enterprises. Manage the talents in a freelancing way. Enable the talents to find the right work. The capital is not the platform but is the skillset that the individual talent comes with. With distributed work style, the main goal of the enablers is on streamlining the work pipeline. The individual contributors utilizing Gig economy platforms need discipline, respect, and resilience. The enablers should enforce high standards especially for the Zoomers (Gen Z) and late Millennials (Gen Y) who directly jump onto Gig works, unlike early Millennials who would at least have tasted the traditional employment models to some extent.
C) Delivery assurance – The highly skilled individuals and high energy would perform the heavy lifting of the actual implementation of the requirements. This is where the actual code is built. The talents may be hired for a certain requirement needs or maybe on a capacity basis with a skillset. As the tech industry is changing almost every day with new launches of products for app development, individuals need to be upgrading themselves for the future.
Are there other options apart from gig workers?
1) Advanced IDEs – (Development team is very much involved in app development)
The public open-source code repository has code for almost everything that is needed by enterprises. The only fact is the code may be scrambled. If the companies that manage the public code repos can come up with a way for developers to seamlessly utilize this code as part of the IDE’s, it would drastically help in the RAD model.
2) Low code platforms – (Few members from a development team will be involved)
Ready to stitch applications can be developed at a very quick time by utilizing the modules and components provided by the low code platforms. Here the components needed by the applications would have been prebuilt. And the components can be customized if needed. The applications will be built in a graphical user interface that the platform vendor would provide.
3) No code platforms – (Few business folks can decide the application rollout strategy)
In the zero code model, the idea is to have an enterprise-grade application ready to be rolled out or launched on day 1. The platform providers have a default template for the most common business needs. The business manages the product with a simple graphical user interface provided by the platform.
What worries me about Gig’s working style?
The gig economy is here to stay and grow at a higher rate year by year when compared to any other employment models. I see the challenges from both parties –
A) Individual Gig workers –
- Updating knowledge – Gig workers have to constantly update their knowledge as the tech that we work for one employer may not be relevant to the next employer. Unlike traditional employment models where you will find some time to upskill yourself, in the Gig economy the talent should update their skills at their own cost
- Build reputation – It is not as easy it looks like to give it a start in Gig economy. Strong connections, recommendation, previous work accomplishments, and market differentiation may be needed to be easily picked for the work
- Financial stability – As the Gig work is not guaranteed to provide regular income, the talents should be able to plan out the financial needs well in advance. Or maybe jump onto the Gig economy as a secondary mode of income, build reputations and make it a primary working style
B) Employers looking for Gig workers –
- Background verification – As the gig workers don’t stick to the same work for a long time or rather stick to any employer to get verified, there should be a way to build the career and profile for themselves
- Security of data – Banking and other modules which involve security as the core of the entire IT infrastructure will have to find a way to securely outsource the work to Gig workers without compromising any data
- Continuous interaction with talent – If the requirements are not documented, then there are fair chances that the work done needs multiple rounds of correction. Also, the advantage of flexible work times will come back to bite when both the parties are in completely different time zones
Please share your thoughts on how you see yourself in the future work style.