Originally published on Alliancy.
The current health and economic crisis is generating profound changes in careers and recruitment within companies, and especially within tech & IT departments. Manuela Delfort-Garampon, co-founder of Mindquest and Club Freelance, sees both a rise in freelancing and a comeback of permanent contracts. Two trends which may seem contradictory but which in reality testify to a convergence of the two forms of employment. The pandemic is causing a hybridisation of tech.
The common denominator in all crises is urgency. With the Covid-19 pandemic, companies have had to reorganise under unprecedented pressure. In this context, many organisations called on freelancers and external experts; a phenomenon far from being new in the IT field, but which has intensified in certain industries essential to business continuity.
Specifically: the urgent deployment of tools that are essential to the implementation of teleworking has generated a wave of requests for network and support consultants, cloud, VPN, and cybersecurity experts of all kinds. Some IT departments have also resorted to freelancing to compensate for the recruitments that were already planned.
At the same time, some candidates and IT professionals have made a choice in this period of crisis to turn to freelancing opportunistically, both to stay active and to position themselves on high added value missions that help companies quickly deploy critical solutions.
While the flexibility of the freelancing model has long appealed to companies and applicants alike, the agility it provides has made it an obvious solution to the current situation. But that’s not the only trend regarding careers transformation in the tech world.
Beyond the emergency, many companies see the current crisis as an opportunity to get ahead and differentiate themselves. Many paused their recruitment efforts during the first lockdown, but most have resumed – or even accelerated – their search since September.
Why? Quite simply because in times of crisis, the best talent is more essential than ever in an IT team. Hence the need to attract and retain top performers that sustain strong teams. The war for talent has intensified around these key profiles, which companies are tearing off and now want to “secure” under permanent contracts.
At the same time, the permanent contract has made a comeback in the hearts of many candidates and tech & IT professionals; even among some who previously swore only by freelancing. A certain number of freelancers have chosen to go (or go back) to salaried employment, in order to (re) find greater stability in these times of crisis.
Resorting to the freelance model, although it has grown in importance with the crisis, does not however supplant the permanent contract model. In fact, the two statuses coexist now more than ever.
In terms of professional careers, the last few decades have seen many silos gradually fall. For a long time, the norm was to do the same job in the same company throughout one’s life. Then careers began to be built across several companies. For the past twenty years or so, it has been common practice to have several different jobs during a professional career, and sometimes to retrain or reskill completely. Today, there is also the alternation and combination of statuses, with an increasingly porous border between permanent contracts and the self-employed status.
In fact, this trend of hybridising careers in the world of technology and IT did not originate from the pandemic. The motivations for moving from one status to another can be multiple and independent of the current crisis. Example: many freelancers decide to (re) switch to permanent contracts to access management positions. But the current pandemic is greatly accelerating the phenomenon.
Status doesn’t matter as much as it used to. For companies, the challenge now is to attract the best talent, whether they are on permanent or freelance contracts, to accelerate their IT projects. For professionals open to new opportunities, what matters is more the interest in the project and the technical stack, as well as the dynamics of the team. Status is no longer an end in itself.
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