The short answer:  Yes! The long answer companies now need to be working with Freelancers is they are to remain competitive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) industry landscape.  Traditional thinking had freelancers reserved for specific and short-term missions and ESN workers for longer-term projects, has become totally outdated. Tech and data freelancers are working longer and longer missions. Here at Comet our average mission is 10 months and that is only set to increase. No matter what the length of the mission. The best IT experts are no longer found in ESNs or looking for long term positions, they are freelance. Because freelancing offers better conditions, so the top talent always chooses this way of working. Quality has shifted status.

  • Quality and quantity

The reason for this shift in the employment landscape is pretty simple: it’s all about volume. More and more high-quality tech and data freelancers are choosing the freelance lifestyle because, quite simply, it’s a smarter way to work, they end up with more money in pocket, they are able to choose the missions and conditions that suit them best, it’s a no-brainer. We saw it happen in the US first where even years ago over 50% of tech and data workers are freelancers. Here in France the trend is headed in the same direction, especially over the Covid-19 pandemic where remote work has become the new normal. But it’s not just about the supply, although getting the right person for the job primary, it’s also because freelancing is more adapted to company needs.

  • Flexibility rules 

Covid-19 has meant we have literally lived through a massive demonstration of the need to scale… and quickly. Being able to deal with increasing or decreasing demand at lightning speed has been a determining factor in companies survival over the last year. Being able to cut back or increase ressources at a moment’s notice, will be key to the future of business. As uncertainty increases flexibility has become more than a  buzzword. Working with freelancers aligned businesses to this requirement of all industries. Yet this doesn’t mean freelancers need to be considered exclusively for short term missions, an increasing trend sees freelancers are working on much longer projects that easily extend past one year. In fact as companies adapt to this increasingly versatile marketscape and companies have become more conscious of the ROI of employee-time, businesses increasingly operate in project mode.  

  • Transparency rules

Top experts no longer accept middle men taking a cut of their wages, something that many have been submitted to under ESN and agencies empires for the last few decades. The increase in the amount of freelancers working for big companies has been accompanied by a demystification of the money side of things. In the past, and still now, freelancers aren’t even aware how much the end client is paying for their services! This lack of transparency is clearly demotivating. No wonder it was harder for longer-term missions to blossom, under those conditions which are frankly not comfortable. With platforms like Comet, freelancers pay a small fee for the match and companies pay a small percentage. All the numbers are clear for all to see and even negotiation is possible. This gives freelancers more control and autonomy over their career and objectives, leading them into mutually profitable and comfortable working environments. And beyond the feel good, this system means freelancers end up getting paid much better and that companies can work with better talent for less. 

  • The network effect 

An often underestimated benefit of working with expert freelancers as compared to ESN workers, is their professional network. This new landscape where the modus operandi is projects and needs are constantly changing requires profiles that are able to go beyond excellence. Not only are freelancers more motivated, because they choose the mission they accept, as compared to ESN workers who are delegated missions to fill their time, they are also passionate about the freelancer lifestyle and community and know other freelancers. This means when working with a frontend-dev and realising the scope of the project requires a UX designer for a few days back up, it’s your freelancer who will undoubtedly know the right person to jump in on the project. Beyond providing the right person for the job, it also means the person comes recommended and trusted. As compared to  ESNs where workers are delegated and quality is a question of luck. Freelancers form an ecosystem and their reputation (and hence their earnings) is dependent on the quality of their work. This in your company, in the Comet community and within the larger freelancer ecosystem. It’s sort of a way to guarantee quality, through accountability and provide access to a vast array of complementary skill sets.

  • Quality wins 

Freelancing has grown up. And not just metaphorically, the average tech-data freelancer is no longer an inexperienced youth, but a mature expert, our average freelancer is early to mid 30s, highly-skilled and passionate about being freelance. They are delighted to choose their lifestyle and daily rate and so are constantly upskilling, networking and over delivering to continue to reap the benefits of this way of working. The average mission length at Comet is over 10 months but we have many who have extended beyond 18-months, indicating win-win relationships. Innovative and smart companies have already jumped on this new way of working, composing their workforce with a mixture of inhouse workers and freelancers. This also helps push projects forward, as freelancers are always directly considering the execution of the project, rather than promotion within the company. A way of working that is more efficient, more transparent and actually creates a better working environment for all.