There’s a storm brewing,a vortex created by an exponential growth in technology and the sharp decline in the number of IT graduates entering the UK workforce. At one end of the spectrum we’re seeing major advances in fields like artificial intelligence, and at the other a quarter of the population still don’t have the skills to do more than consume digital products. Medium sized companies in the UK have identified the IT skills gap amongst their top 3 risks for the next decade with fears amplified in the wake of the Brexit vote.
As a parallel stream the trend toward a “gig economy” is growing; a recent study predicted that by 2020 up to 35 percent of workers could be independent contractors. Websites like Upwork and Freelancer have quite literally changed the way companies recruit and fill their IT skills gap,with specialist technology focused sites like The IT Project Board enabling searches based on any combination of IT category, skill, accreditation, certification, manufacturer and industry expertise to find the right person for your role.
Robert Chambers, CEO of The ITProjectboard.com says “Finding the right talent is expensive, time-consuming and unnecessarily arduous. Businesses must be prepared to go further afield to find the talent they need, modern platforms are designed to enable this at a few clicks; employers can find and invite talent to their projects directly, with no geographical barriers so saving both time and money.”In addition these sites also provide unbiased ratings of completed projects, allowing businesses to make hiring decisions based on real outcomes not just instinct; eliminating the need to rely on the traditional gut feeling.
Perhaps these new virtual marketplaces will be the answer to the IT skills gap epidemic, “work” is after all no longer (just) a physical space or series of mechanical tasks as it’s a set of skills or aptitudes that we sell at the best price.These sites also allow companies to intelligently build Virtual Teams from multiple sources from all over the planet. The collaboration enables step changes in efficiency, time and cost. You can get things done in a much more flexible, dynamic, and distributed way, and visibility is increased as your entire team regardless of location or time zone can view a single dashboard.
The IT Project Board’s CEO goes onto say “today’s workforce is fragmented; over a third of the workforce did some kind of freelance work over the past year. Nearly four out of five employers in establishments of all sizes and industries use some form of non-traditional staffing. Online marketplaces are the most flexible way to recruit the multiple types of resources you need to complete a project. The right people can quickly get involved on a project in a matter of a few clicks, as opposed to the normal 30 day recruitment cycle.”
Millennials want transparency, flexibility and the ability to work for multiple employers simultaneously if they chose, anywhere they choose. And businesses win by combining a flexible remote workforce with traditional workforce to maintain stability, morale and cost controls. Is it any wonder then that these collaboration websites are flourishing? The question is; will they do enough to solve the epidemic.