More and more tech companies are turning toward contract workers and freelance hires to fulfill their professional skill set requirements.
From hiring remote coding experts for short-term projects to creating contract consulting positions that span years, tech industry employers have leveraged the gig economy in many ways. More than that, the freelance workforce is happily growing larger every day.
These factors mean the employment climate for tech professionals is rapidly changing from how it was only a decade before. But when looking at its driving force, this shift in the tech industry’s mentality is a pretty natural development.
Freelancing is on the Rise
Across the modern workforce, an increasing number of people are entering the gig economy.
According to Forbes, last year 36 percent of U.S. workers actively contributed to this rise in some way. On top of that, estimates show many more workers will transition from full-time employment to gig economy-reliant incomes.
The tech industry shows a similar trend, with company workforces consisting largely of temporary and contract personnel. For example, The New York Times reported that Google’s temporary workers exceed the number of the company's full-time employees. However, that’s not too surprising, considering contingent labor makes up 40 to 50 percent of workers at most other tech companies, as well.
Easily Source Needed Skills
Ten years ago, finding skilled experts in specific technological fields was a much more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process. But within the gig economy, a day’s worth of internet research provides companies with multiple dream candidates.
It’s no secret that the best minds in technology aren’t exclusively degree-wielding experts who hold full-time company positions.
Just think of the current focus on the countless innovative startups that are pioneering future solutions and consumer products. These budding businesses have shown that powerful ideas come from even the smallest places. Instead of competing with these smaller ventures, many larger, established tech companies like Google are investing in them.
Similarly, the number of highly qualified and independent tech freelancers is always growing, and they’re bringing impressive skills to the table. Rather than shying away from the potential noncommittal nature of gig workers, tech businesses are embracing them as convenient solutions to immediate challenges.
More Effective than Traditional Hires
The on-demand nature of the gig economy workforce helps employers pay for skill sets only when they need them. After all, continued success in business usually means obtaining higher results while lowering costs.
To that end, by hiring freelancers, companies pay workers for only the projects they need. Afterward, they can part ways if it’s beneficial to do so, giving those companies the potential to optimize their costs.
Furthermore, when a gig economy worker ends a job successfully, they’ll usually foster a positive relationship with that business. So, when the company needs their skills in the future, it will likely call upon the contractor again. Until that day comes, gig economy freelancers and contractors will enjoy the flexibility of working between multiple other tech company clients, as many industry professionals already do.
With all this in mind, the gig economy is well on its way to becoming the tech industry standard—and much of the world seems ready to embrace it.
Nathan is a California-based writer who hides from the sun to write and market web content in all of its forms. He enjoys writing about most everything except for himself—especially when it’s in the third person.