The use of IT consultants and contractors is accelerating at a phenomenal pace, with a growth of more than 21% in just two years, according to latest UK figures.
And while the IT industry’s ever growing gig economy comes with a huge number of benefits – what about the challenges associated with using a workforce that may be spread across the globe, finding reliable contractors with exactly the right skill set and operating with a diverse combination of worker types?
Filtering through the thousands of freelancers, currently in an unregulated marketplace, can be a time-consuming, frustrating and risky process.
One company offering a groundbreaking solution for this burgeoning IT industry malaise is software services company Clearvision. It has created ClearHub – the World’s largest network of Atlassian-skilled IT contractors, match-making businesses with professional IT consultants and DevOps contractors that are reliable, available and have the required, specialist skills for a project (all contractors have been verified by Clearvision).
In addition to disrupting the 30 year old IT recruitment market, ClearHub goes much further in its solution provision – boosting skills by giving contractor members access to 24/7 technical support via the ClearHub service centre, and peace of mind for businesses with a dedicated account manager to ensure the process runs smoothly.
While ClearHub specialises in Atlassian skilled IT contractors, it is leading the way in a new era of matching making verified freelancers with software development teams; helping to address the on-going tech talent shortage, as more and more businesses form in-house development teams and embrace a DevOps culture.
Simon Wood from Clearvision explains:
“Looking at the latest figures in the UK alone, the number of contract jobs requiring development application skills during the last six months was 19,055 versus 15,677 in the same period in 2016 – a 21.55% increase.
“Citing jobs specifically looking for Atlassian JIRA skills it’s most recently 4,345 versus 2,665 in the same period two years ago – a 63.04% increase.
“These figures are just two examples illustrating that demand for skilled developers across the IT industry is outweighing the current full-time talent pool, and it’s at an all time high for Atlassian skills in particular.
“This has been driven by Atlassian’s flagship products JIRA and Confluence becoming seen as the industry standard, with tens of thousands of customers, and this phenomenal success has created a specialised gig economy in its wake.
“As an Atlassian Platinum solution partner, we were at the coal face to witness this huge surge in demand for developers experienced in these tools and created a solution in ClearHub. It’s not only making finding IT consultants easier, but should these professionals want advice, training and support on the best way to proceed with something outside of their expertise, all of our approved IT contractors receive technical support whenever and wherever they need it.
“Similarly, for businesses reliant on this gig economy, they’re facing new challenges in how they effectively manage outsourced talent. Dependence on a relatively unmonitored, uncontrolled workforce can be demanding – especially for the HR department and C-suite responsible for a project’s success. Today’s HR teams have to adapt to changes in the 21st century workforce. So our solution has been designed to facilitate this process too, even down to if a contractor falls ill, ClearHub will replace them at no extra cost.”
Clients already using ClearHub include Fox and UBS, and the network of contractors available via ClearHub spans more than 50 countries worldwide.
“The gig economy presents huge opportunities for technology-led businesses, and hiring a contractor over a full-time employee comes with significant business benefits.
“It opens up a business to flexibility. You can bring in a contractor to address a short-term need or to apply a specialist skill, for a particular stage in the journey of your business. When employing a contractor, you have no obligations to carry the person on longer than you need them, compared to an employee, who subsequently may not have the skill required for the next phase of a transformation project.
“Productivity starts immediately. A recent Workforce Productivity Report revealed that nearly half of all business leaders believe that contract workers are more productive than full-time employees. This is because contractors can be selected based on a required skill-set and doesn’t require any training; they’re able hit the ground running from the beginning. A salaried employee, on the other hand, will require an induction period, including training. In general a contractor will produce the work in a shorter time frame.
“Similarly, bringing in new ideas and skills can have a positive impact on the existing team – where skill sharing can become something a contactor can bring to the table.
“As well as aiding with flexibility for your company, to hire an IT contractor can also save a business a considerable amount of money. It’s no rumour that contractors can earn more than a salaried employee, however when budgeting for a full-time employee you need to take into consideration more than just the annual salary. A full-time employee may require training courses compared to a specialised contractor. Additionally full-time employers also require sick and holiday pay. Once you total these costs compared to hiring an IT contractor, you can see the significant difference.
“Hiring an employee can be a lengthy process, from writing and posting job adverts, reading resumes and then handling the interview stages. Using networks like ClearHub – with a rich pool of specialised and verified contractors who have already been checked thoroughly – can cut down this process ten-fold. And it’s a great way to take a test drive, eliminating the risk of employing the wrong person. Contracts can become long-term or evolve into employment if you find they’re the right fit for your organisation.
“Over recent years, our clients and various other companies who have chosen to hire remote contractors have found that in the selection process, this has given them access to a lot more contractors with the required skills. This has proven to work very well which has therefore identified that the contractor’s specific skills were more important than their location.
“For professionals who freelance by choice getting into gig work can be similarly rewarding. They too enjoy greater flexibility and can often work remotely – from anywhere around the globe. Greater control over what skills to learn – often being reactive to trends in popular tools being applied, such as Atlassian – can deliver greater opportunities and career advancement. Contractors can also be more selective in projects they work on.“
Concluding, Simon said: “Not everyone wants to be a full-time employee, and organisations often don’t want that either. They want more agility to be faster to market and have flexibility in how they build their teams and their organisations.
“Similarly, demand for talent is out-stripping supply, there is simply not enough talent in the places people would like to hire, such as some major UK cities. And of course, geography now presents very few barriers, where the internet and collaborative working tools have enabled virtual working more effectively than ever.
“So as the battle for skilled IT talent continues, and the gig economy shows no signs of slowing, the more we facilitate it in ways that benefit both contractor and client business the better.”