Recruitment, Technology, Digital Transformation | 4 min read

The Freelance Revolution: Gaining Access to Top Tech Talent

Written by Mat Roche

Digital Transformation is driving change across every industry on an unprecedented level. Next generation technologies such as social, mobile, data science, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) are disrupting established business models and challenging companies to adapt quickly to the new digital economy.

As with any paradigm shift, adapting is not easy. IT innovations are continuously launching and business leaders are under pressure to stay relevant and competitive. We are currently witnessing a technological revolution and its impact on business processes, culture and people is profound.

Unless you have the right talent on your side to help your company navigate this ever-changing terrain, your Digital Transformation journey will take years to complete, customers and employees will move on and your business will stagnate. Why? Well, one one of the biggest challenges to successful digital transformation is access to the right talent.

That’s why companies like yours are looking for a new generation of entrepreneurially minded workers with the skills and the ability to harness new digital technologies such as cloud applications, cloud platforms and big data. While there is great demand for these technology skills, they are in very short supply.

As a result, many businesses are relying on consultancies to supply this technology expertise. What businesses are failing to realise is that the highly skilled professionals they’re after are moving away from the consultancy model to work for themselves. The fact is that a growing majority of today’s highly skilled technology workforce now works on a freelance basis. The number of professional freelance consultants increased by 31% in 2018.

A perfect storm is brewing: new digital marketplaces are on the rise, the societal shift to self-employment instead of full time work is in full swing and jobs are becoming more specialised and project based rather than indefinite contracts. That, combined with an exploding shortage of skills, is radically shifting how highly skilled technology professionals want operate in the workplace.

This begs the question: are you sourcing talent in the right way? Here are some reasons why you should rethink your staff augmentation strategies.

The brain drain

As experts skilled in next generation digital technologies are increasingly working for themselves, consultancies can no longer supply the latest technology skills to their clients. 

Consultancies have always experienced a certain amount of manageable brain drain. The difference now is the sheer volume and the speed at which this transition is happening.

Consultancies will do their utmost to address your needs. In most cases it’s unlikely to be enough, especially if you want to leverage the top rated skills in the market with the most relevant experience. 

Businesses need to realise that the brain drain away from consultancies is reaching unprecedented levels as the move to freelance accelerates.  Only then can they make better decisions for bringing highly qualified expertise into their organisations. 

The question of quality

With the brain drain in full swing, consultancies are under more pressure to replace their experts with less experienced people, leaving businesses like yours potentially short-changed. 

One of the biggest risks to businesses who rely on the consultancy model as their primary source of skills is the quality of talent that is being supplied.

The question you need to ask is this: are you paying for the skills and expertise you wanted?

White-labelling

As the number of talented people choosing to work for themselves increases, consultancies are doing their best to build up associate networks made up of freelance consultants.

Many consultancies are now promoting career opportunities for freelance consultants to become “associates” on their websites. The consultancy typically then white-labels these freelancers to your company at an extortionate fee. It’s an expensive and risky business: the consultancy has less control over the quality and conduct of the freelancer. The project could end up taking a lot longer and cost a lot more than if you’d just hired a professional freelance consultant yourself.

White-labelling has been around for some time, it’s not a product of the new tech landscape by any means. However, the new digital economy we live in today is definitely responsible for dramatically accelerating the uptake in freelance careers and thus the epidemic of white-labelling as a practice.

Companies would do better to redefine their resourcing approach and access the freelance talent pool at source, instead of relying on consultancies.   

Staff augmentation at your fingertips

Consultancies are very good at delivering specific deliverables such as statements of work (SOW) and fixed price projects, but when it comes to augmenting your teams with highly qualified technology skills, there are now better ways of going about it.

Traditional consultancies no longer have the top rated technology professionals at their fingertips, fact; this paradigm shift accelerating the transition of highly skilled professionals to freelance is challenging employers to think differently and source talent in a smarter way.

There are suppliers out there that are leveraging innovations in social technologies to engage the power of the freelance market. These suppliers are using new technologies, and the communities behind them, to create new opportunities for you to identify and engage top talent.

Make talent driven decisions

The facts speak for themselves: an accelerating number of highly experienced professionals working in technology are no longer being employed by consultancies or looking for full-time work, and this number is exploding by the day as people make the transition to freelance.

The risks once associated with taking on freelance professionals are also hugely reduced. In fact, the risks associated with hiring via consultancies are greater. The risk factor has been turned on its head; freelance professionals are more motivated than ever before to produce amazing results for their employers as their social footprints become more and visible and their work critiqued on ratings platforms. 

As the contingent market for talent gathers pace, businesses that win the war for talent will be those that make talent-driven decisions, businesses who change their perception of where the talent is and adapt their staff augmentation strategies accordingly

 

The best way to access this highly skilled expertise is to complement your existing supply chain for staff augmentation with new, modern suppliers who operate where the talent is going. 

At Third Republic, we’ve created a proposition called CloudPros to give you access to next generation technology skills so you can successfully execute your Digital Transformation journey via a new, innovative resourcing model that enables you to engage the best of the best talent in the market - those sparks of genius who can help transform your business.

Either embrace the rise of the freelance workforce or get left behind - the choice is yours.

 

Get in touch with us for advice on how to tap into the power of the freelance market.