Independent software development explodes amid COVID-19, business rules change

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Over the next year, the majority of hiring managers in the tech space “plan to increase their use of freelancers,” according to a new Upwork report.

Image: iStock / jacoblund

More than a year after the onset of COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic continues to redefine the new normal of work, but its footprint could reshape the way companies fill jobs for years to come. On Wednesday, Upwork released its Future Workforce Pulse report, highlighting how the coronavirus pandemic has transformed hiring, management practices and how companies are leveraging independent talent across industries.

“Remote working has become, what economists call, a general purpose technology,” said Adam Ozimek, Upwork chief economist, in a press release. “It has a wide range of uses that are adopted across the economy and creates a variety of ripple effects and we are already seeing the signs of those effects. Adopting a more completely remote workforce has allowed companies to embrace new technologies, reinvent they’ve integrated and trained, and even allowed hiring managers to embrace the use of freelancers. ”

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Remote work and freelance concerts are exploding

The Upwork report predicts that more than a quarter of American workers (27.7%) will be removed over the next half-decade; up nearly 5% from the company’s November 2020 survey. The coronavirus pandemic has also “accelerated” companies’ use of remote freelance talent, with 53% of respondents saying “the remote work increased their willingness to use freelancers, “the statement said, and the vast majority of hiring managers (71%) said they planned to” support or increase their use of freelancers “over the past six years. next months.

Over the next year, freelance tech talent will continue to thrive, according to Upwork, as nearly two in three hiring managers in the tech space “plan to increase their use of freelancers” during that time. But why are companies increasingly willing to hire freelance talent and is this trend related to the recent high turnover rate in a tight labor market?

One of the main reasons companies are increasingly willing to call on freelance talent, according to Ozimek, is that companies now have “the infrastructure to support freelancers”; whereas before the pandemic, he explained, “the idea of ​​integrating or collaborating with a professional outside the office or the company was difficult to grasp for many companies and hiring managers”.

“But as companies had to find how to integrate and train their employees in the context of remote work, many realized that they could now do the same with the self-employed,” he continued.

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Once companies overcame the “hurdle” of training and integrating freelance talent, Ozimek said, “many” saw the “value of working with freelancers remotely,” such as the ability to respond quickly to demand by developing teams and calling on freelancers to help them with work availability due to turnover in a tight labor market.

It is important to note that this increase in freelance talent varies across industries. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, 80% of hiring managers in the web, mobile and software development space said they have increased freelance usage, according to Upwork, the largest such increase on record. So what is driving the increased use of freelancers in this category of software development?

“This is an area of ​​work where there is both a lot of project-based demand as well as rapid scalability needs,” said Ozimek. “Businesses that need e-commerce operations to launch quickly, or a quick revamp of their mobile site. This type of work lends itself well to freelance work.”

The WFH is changing management styles

Interestingly, the pandemic can also change the way companies and managers choose to supervise and supervise workers. Compared to a “normal year”, about two-thirds of the companies surveyed (67%) said they had experienced “more changes in long-term management practices” despite the temporary adjustments made due to COVID-19, for example Upwork.

Management, said Ozimek, is one area that has seen “a lot of change”, with the shift to remote working, explaining that it is “likely” because “a lot of the old management practices”, to monitoring check-in and check-out times and ‘peek over your shoulder’ are not possible in a home work setting.

“Instead, companies had to change their mindset to think about the actual work being done by teams,” said Ozimek. “Do people finish their work on time? Is it high quality? Can I count on them? ”

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