Freelancing techies: Why gig workers are in demand in the tech world
By Annanya Sarthak
In the year gone by, large-sized enterprises, public listed companies, and startups showed an increasing preference for working with gig partners with specialised tech skills. A report from Awign suggests that demand for high-skill tech talent in contractual roles has seen an 85% increase in the last 12 months. While 76% of the demand for high-skill talent comes from large enterprises, mid-size enterprises along with startups and growing enterprises contributed to 16% and 8% of the demand, respectively.
A gamut of opportunities lies for tech talent in the gig economy, as majority enterprises have been looking for techies in gig roles with three to five years of experience. Full stack developers, data scientists, React and Java developers, mobile app developers and cloud engineers are among tech roles in high demand in the gig economy.
Today, with the rise in demand for tech talent, companies are facing a shortage for skilled tech talent amid rising attrition. In 2022, the IT industry itself observed a 25% employee attrition rate as it lost talent to other industries. A report from TeamLease suggests that search for work flexibility and growth opportunities are among drivers which have led to this change. Companies, including those in the IT industry, have been combating this situation by expanding their workforce to a project or contract-based gig workforce. Amid shortage of tech talent, 65% of employers are now looking at gig workers to fulfill short-term roles and help the organisation meet its requirements.
The need to focus on business profitability is another reason behind the shift to contractual talent across skill segments. The trend for high-skill gig talent has however been more pertinent in the last two years, with rising investments incurred on the talent. For enterprises, the ability to hire high-skill tech talent for contractual, milestone or project-based roles, enables them to adjust their fixed costs, reduce resources and time spent on recruitment cycles, and provides agility to scale up/down as required.
Apart from the needs of the domestic market, the global shortage of tech talent also presents a multitude of avenues to work on contractual basis. India generates the second largest supply of STEM graduates every year. Approximately, 1.5 million engineers graduate every year from Indian colleges, presenting a massive opportunity to meet the tech talent demand-supply gap on the global scale. The gig tech talent will have a crucial role in meeting this demand, becoming an integral part of the talent management strategy enterprises deploy.
The future of tech talent in the gig economy shines bright as enterprises express continued preference and demand for contractual talent for work fulfillment. With increased digitalisation and 5G expansion, there will be a surge of job opportunities in the IT, telecom and healthcare sectors. Moreover, there will also be increased demand for tech talent who have the skills to develop futuristic tech.
In the next few years, there will be greater movement of high-skill tech talent towards the gig economy. Liberalisation of labour laws, implementation of social security along with non-monetary benefits from platforms will further enable the participation of tech talent in the gig economy, boost employability along with economic growth.
(The author is the co-founder and CEO at Awign. All views expressed are personal)