PUNE: Pune-based Persistent Systems recently broke away from traditional practices by including several freelancers and consultants in a team that worked on a short-term project, a relatively new idea that’s steadily gaining popularity in the global technology services space.
It’s called the ‘gig economy’ or ‘Uberisation’ of workforce, where talent works on a demand-supply model, moving across projects and organisations as per the demand and their interest areas. “While this (Uberisation) isn’t seen yet at a mass level with services companies, it is starting to happen,” said Sameer Bendre, chief people officer at Persistent Systems.
“There are a few pockets where we are experimenting with it… We believe that there are a lot of opportunities in some areas for us to use it, like women returning to work after maternity leave,” he said.
Other Indian IT companies, including InfosysBSE -0.66 % and WiproBSE 1.86 %, are exploring the idea of an ‘Uberised workforce’. What is driving this trend is the changing preference of the young workforce more than the market uncertainty and political situation in their largest market, the US.
“With a greater influx of millennials into the workforce, all previous assumptions of what works to keep employees engaged and motivated are breaking down,” said Richard Lobo, head – HR at Infosys. “More and more, we’re dealing with a blended workforce, where full-time and part-time employees cohabit the same space, but whose needs are completely different.”
There is an increasing number of people who do not want to be employed full time, Lobo said. “Just as people have become comfortable using shared transport with on demand cars, employers will start looking at on-demand hiring of workforce for specific activities that regular staff cannot fulfil,” he said. Last year, when Wipro acquired US-based IT consulting firm Appirio that owns crowds-ourcing platform TopCoder, CEO Abidali Neemuchwala had told ET, “We believe that the future of work in the IT industry is going to get Uberised to some extent.”
Already, more workers are part of the gig economy in the US than employed by the IT and IT services sectors combined. As per a study done by Intuit and Emergent Research, the number of on-demand workers in the US in expected to double in the next four years to almost 9.2 million.
In India, the number of contract workers is currently pegged at 2.5 million, and may go up to six million over the next decade, according to staffing firm TeamLease Services.
While Indian IT workers taking on freelance projects in their spare time is not new, the big shift has been that Indian firms are opening up to the idea of working with contract workers or consultants.
Persistent is experimenting with a mix of permanent and contract workers on short-term projects in areas such as user interface and user experience (UI/UX) design. Informal estimates put the contract workforce at 29% of the total labour force in India, of which 1% is managed by organised players. Within this, IT employees make up about 18% and this number has been increasing.
Sudeep Sen, assistant vice-president at TeamLease Services, said: “With technology rapidly changing, the cost of reskilling employees is fairly high. With margins under pressure, it’s easier for a company to reskill 90% of their people and let go of the rest, filling those positions through contract workers as and when the need arises.”
To start with, companies are using freelancers in areas where it is easy to carve out work like UI/UX, design, high level architecture and voice/email-based support. Mindtree is using this for talent acquisition.
“We use a ‘gig-based’ mechanism in the form of a third-party interviewing platform for certain skills,” said Pankaj Khanna, head of talent acquisition at the Bengaluru-headquartered outsourcing firm.
“The platform evaluates, hires and monitors (maintains quality) technical panels who take up interviews for the platforms’ clients across the technology spectrum,” he said.
Read the full article here.
Source: The Economic Times