According to ICIMS, only 60% of U.S. tech jobs were filled between 2016 and 2019, compared to 12 for every 10 positions in all other positions. This gap is not shrinking. There are 1,365,500 vacancies for software developers at American businesses. Only 65,000 college graduates each year. Midsize businesses have an opportunity to tap into the potential of the on-demand workforce by establishing independent careers. Flexible talent acquisition models have proven to be a game changer in digital transformation. With skilled workers so scarce, they are the escape ticket for companies that fear falling behind in digital revolution.
Covid-19 increased the urgency for digital transformation initiatives by all businesses. Companies of all sizes, small and medium, didn't have the funds to invest in every innovation. They were forced to concentrate on the most important things and make smart investments in digital technology. These investments were primarily focused on new productivity tools and a communications infrastructure that connects and secures remote teams. However, organizations have created a shortage of staffing because they digitize faster than their competition.
Although the shortage of digital skills is not new, it has been exacerbated by the pandemic. This is the biggest factor that holds back small and medium-sized businesses. According to ICIMS only 60% of U.S. tech jobs were filled between 2016 and 2019, compared to 12 for every 10 positions in all other roles. This gap is not shrinking. There are 1,365,500 vacancies for software developers at American businesses. Only 65,000 college graduates each year.
Even midsize businesses before the pandemic struggled to find and keep top technical talent. They are facing stiff competition from companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Microsoft. Each of these firms has the resources to offer high salaries, attractive benefits and stock options. Exciting start-ups are chasing them, tempting employees with the opportunity to join something in the early stages of the business and possibly a stake.
Midsize businesses, especially those that aren't digital natives, have it hard to keep their valued employees. The increasing cost of technical staff is a major problem. This is not something that many businesses can afford.
Freelancers fill the skills gap
Small and medium-sized businesses are looking for on-demand workers, as the supply of full-time employees is limited. Instead of paying high salaries and competing against thousands of businesses, they engage flexible staff on a project-based, cost-effective basis. They have better access to talent than smaller businesses, and they can keep overhead low.
However, this does not mean that you should bring freelancers to your office. Businesses must take full advantage of the global talent pool to truly benefit from the sharing economy for technical skilled labor. If the workforce is not available for commuting, then the benefits of flexible work will be negated. It is hard to believe that the best team for a project of digital transformation can be found within a radius of 20 miles.
It is amazing to see the percentage increase in viable candidates after switching from remote-only to local. Remote candidates can provide 430% more viable candidates in some cases. Aspirational companies looking to make a mark in the market can coordinate remote teams of workers to gain access to the best talent from around the globe.
Remote work doesn't always work
However, not all industries can afford to have a remote workforce. Over-reliance on freelancers who work remotely to complete projects is not a good idea for any business. This can lead to high costs and it deprives projects from stakeholders with a deep understanding of the company that is digitizing.
Innovation and invention are difficult to outsource and can be costly. They are also hard to measure effectively, especially if freelancers are not involved in the internal workings of a company. In-house teams have the expertise and time to develop IP. On-demand team members are most valuable when used to complement digital transformation professionals. Freelancers should be used to complete process-driven tasks and not for overseeing strategic matters.
It can be hard to control the quality of freelance work. It can be difficult to coordinate workers and ensure they meet the required standards, even if you are familiar with each worker. Any small or mid-sized business that partners with on-demand talent should ensure that each project is supported with strong quality assurance processes. This will ensure that there is continuity, timely delivery, and high standards of output.
Workers are increasingly choosing freelance jobs
Although freelancers have been uncertain over the past year, small and medium-sized businesses are seeing a recovery in the plural economy. Freelancing is making its way back, whether it's because of the global economic rebound or the growing desire for flexibility and autonomy that the workforce enjoys during national lockdowns.
58% of non-freelancers that were new to remote work during this pandemic believed that freelancing was the way forward. A freelance platform industry has emerged, and is expected to grow 15.3% by 2026. This means that digital talent is not being restricted to one company. Instead, it is being distributed more evenly among those who need it.
Midsize businesses have the opportunity to tap the potential of the on-demand workforce by creating independent careers. Flexible talent acquisition models have proven to be a game changer in digital transformation. With skilled workers so scarce, they are the escape ticket for companies that fear falling behind in digital revolution.
There are many talented digital professionals in the world, but they are largely focused on a few businesses. Organizations of all sizes have the ability to determine their digital futures by reorganizing how talent is provided, and setting longer-term goals to increase it.