Several companies, including Hindustan Unilever, EY India, Tech Mahindra, Axis Bank and Simplilearn, are tapping into the talent pool together with more comfort than ever, thanks to new ways of working since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Access to a broader talent pool and the need for flexibility and specific skills are among the main factors driving this trend, industry insiders said.
Data shared exclusively with ET by Flexing It, a freelance gig platform, shows that the monthly average of project/freelance openings on the platform in the first 10 months of this fiscal year was nearly 50% higher than from April to January FY21.
“We are seeing a very strong demand for professional talent,” said Chandrika Pasricha, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Flexing It. “Increased comfort with remote working and a strong acceptance of the benefits of flexible talent are driving many organizations to plan long-term around distributed teams,” she told ET.
Strategy, technology, marketing and HR are the top four in-demand skills, accounting for 62% of openings so far this fiscal year, according to data from Flexing It.
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Key use cases include evaluating new business models, investing in data science, doubling down on e-commerce or direct-to-consumer (DTC) selling, and adding hiring support .
Hindustan Unilever, the country’s largest fast-moving consumer goods company, has launched an on-demand employment model, Open2U, which allows freelance experts to work with the company as consultants on fixed-term projects. .
“This allows us to create a new talent pool and expand our capacity on demand,” a HUL spokesperson said.
Hiring freelancers not only gives businesses access to a diverse set of skills across value chains and geographies, but also allows them to retain cost flexibility in an uncertain business landscape.
“The supply of talent is limited and the demand is very high. For niche skills, however a person is ready to work, I’m ready to commit,” said Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of edtech startup Simplilearn. “There are no fixed costs involved and therefore this (hiring gig talent) is better value for money.”
If companies are looking for flexibility, so are many professionals.
Data from Flexing It reflects an increase in the number of professionals exploring flexible working options. New talent sign-ups on the platform increased by an average of 35% per month in fiscal year 22 from April to January compared to the prior year period.
“A lot of highly qualified people want to control their time,” said Rajkamal Vempati, president and head of human resources at Axis Bank. “Organizations need to tap into this pool (of freelance professionals) to harness diverse talent, access specific skills, and meet dynamic market needs in a sustainable way.”
The private bank is targeting up to 15% more hires in alternative work models through its “Gig-a-opportunities” initiative.
Tech Mahindra, which hires in-demand workers for niche skills, has even created an external marketplace called BeGig that allows other employers to hire freelance workers, its global resource manager said. humans, Harshvendra Care.
Hiring freelancers is a fast and agile way to fill the talent gap, said SV Nathan, Partner and Director of Talent at Professional Services Deloitte India. “If you’re operating in a market with mobile skills, it’s best to tap into a pool of skilled resources that you can use and reuse as needed,” he said.
Sandeep Kohli, Partner and Talent Leader at EY India, said, “We have seen a big increase in freelance roles, especially with the upcoming technology innovations… There are roles in companies where we welcome talent in concert. /independent, including technology, acquisition, brand. marketing, communication, etc.
Freelancers in India also get more international work. The average hourly rate for international assignments fell from $21 in 2020 to $26 in 2022, according to a survey by Payoneer, a US digital payment services company.