How The Gig Economy Is Serving Women & What This Means For Us All, By Patrick Foster

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How The Gig Economy Is Serving Women & What This Means For Us All, By Patrick Foster

Your stance on the gig economy will depend entirely on your personal and professional circumstances. Some people choose to focus on the negatives — e.g. the lack of job security, and the effect of sites such as Upwork and Fiverr on the perceived value of work — but that’s not the only viable perspective.

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Indeed, plenty of people see the gig economy as a good thing: existing freelancers, for instance. With the tech industry being largely dominated by men, the number of females joining the tech force is increasing. The same can be said for the gig economy. But how is the gig economy serving women in particular? Looking at the wider picture of employment, what significance does the answer hold to the workforce in general? Let’s answer these questions:

 The rise of flexible and remote working

There was a time when holding a position in a white-collar industry meant adhering to a 9-to-5 routine under glaring fluorescent tubes in an open-plan office. This wasn’t ideal for anyone, but few businesses were willing to buck the trend, and there weren’t any practical alternatives to the office arrangement. You needed the team together, in order to get things done.

Fast forward to the modern internet-connected world, and you see something of a revolution regarding working patterns. The gig economy has pushed flexible working (choosing your hours, either significantly or completely) and remote working as a consequence: when your team members aren’t working the same hours, and can work from laptops, then you don’t really need them in the same location. Team communication tools such as Slack, make instance communication possible.

Remote working has made uncomfortable office environments comfortable once more, for men and women, by allowing them to work in a space that best suits them. For women, uncomfortable office environments can be as a result of a number of factors, including sexual harassment, unequal pay, sexism and so on.

Self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities

The changes of the gig economy haven’t only affected conventional part-time or full-time employment — they’ve expanded the opportunities available to those who don’t want to be limited by full-time employment. Freelancers in particular are taking advantage of technology, be that by promoting themselves, pitching to prospective clients, or fulfilling their duties from anywhere.

Consider the case of Camille Newman, an entrepreneur who tested the waters with a pop-up fashion business before moving her operation online (read about her female entrepreneur success story here).

In essence, this all adds up to a simple truth: if you’re trying to get ahead without needing to rely on the support or goodwill of others, you have plenty of avenues available to you. Consequently, women who’ve previously felt excluded and alienated can truly make their own future — a study in early 2019 found that 72% of self-employed women feel that they’re in their dream jobs.

How sporadic workloads suit many women

If a skilled professional in the early stages of a regular full-time career decides to start a family, she’ll likely get mandated support, but missing working time might negatively affect her prospects.

With a flexible working schedule, it’s possible to balance pregnancy, and birth and child-rearing with career demands — what ultimately matters is that you get the job done to a high level of quality, and if that happens, then how and when it happens won’t matter as much. Tara Gentile, for example, started a website and purchased a blog six months after giving birth, and was quickly making more money than she’d been making before.

The broader impact on the employment world

The gig economy has made it possible for any woman who wants to start her own business to pursue her dream without external investment or support. It has given a significant boost to flexible and remote working, which is good for women who prefer to stay out of conventional offices (as well as those who want to balance other parts of their lives with their careers).

This, as you’d expect, is affecting the employment world in general to a major extent. Today’s employers are having to adjust their requirements and procedures to become more appealing to workers (both women and men) who’ve become accustomed to more flexible and supportive working arrangements.

With women finding it easier and more rewarding to go into business for themselves, we’re seeing the knock-on effects ripple throughout the business world. Companies are becoming more empathetic, community-driven, and committed to diversity — and performing better while doing so.

Whatever your thoughts, the gig economy is pushing things in a good direction for women in the workplace. It embraces versatility, flexibility, and self-direction. Today, any woman who wants to become a success in the business world can achieve her dreams without support from anyone.

Have you considered working as an IT contractor? Visit https://clearhub.tech/find-it-contractor-jobs/.

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New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reveals increasing demand for contractors

Increasing demand for contractors

New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reveals increasing demand for contractors

We told you the gig economy was here, and the latest statistics produced by the REC only go to prove this.

New data from the REC revealed an increasing demand for contractors in the workplace.
Almost half (46%) of UK employers demonstrated concern over the availability of permanent candidates and their lack of experience in specific areas, namely Engineering & Technical skills.

Out of the surveyed employers 80% had either no surplus workforce capacity, or such a small amount that they’d need to hire more staff to tackle the issue. To increase business productivity 83% planned on offering training and upskilling opportunities to staff as a solution.

Interestingly, the data also showed that employers are increasing the number of permanent workers as a short term solution (despite the sudden increase in the need for contractors). Employers looking for a short term solution, went as far as developing plans to help permanent employees with the ever-changing business needs that come with digital transformation.

  • 71% of employers plan on promoting diversity and inclusion
  • 58% plan on offering flexible working practices in an effort to increase the productivity of permanent employees

How can they BOTH be on the rise?

It’s not surprising that employers are continuing to hire permanent employees, considering they’ve always been in higher demand than contractors. The sudden increase in companies seeking temporary workers however, is just the start. It’s only a matter of time before the percentage of businesses seeking contract workers surpasses that of those seeking permanent employees.

Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, Neil Carberry, suggested a reason for why the number of employers seeking agency workers had risen stating that, “businesses are turning to agency work to help them navigate the unpredictability they currently face.”

Don’t be afraid of the unknown

In the face of digital transformation, contract workers have become more desirable to businesses of all sectors.

Why? Because they’re experienced in specific areas, and continue to expand on skills through the various contract roles they take on. They’re generally more adaptable because of this, which makes them ideal candidates in a time of digital evolution.

Not everyone is sold

Many employers remain hesitant, with 34% expressing concern over the necessary skills required by temporary workers to fulfil their business needs. This could be down to the fact that they’ve not had to use contractors before, whatever their reasoning, the fact of the matter is that contractors are highly skilled in specific areas to ensure they fulfil business needs.

Not every project needs to last forever, and in such circumstances, a permanent candidate isn’t always the best solution. A temporary worker stays for a preferred amount of time to get a specific task done; by not having a single job dragged out, the wider business can focus on other priorities and progress at a faster rate.

Did you know? ClearHub place Atlassian contractors, who are technically tested by an industry expert in the skills most important to you. If you decide at any point that the contractor we provide you with isn’t working out for your business needs, our risk free guarantee means we’ll replace your contractor free of charge. There’s nothing
to fear with ClearHub.

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Flexible Working in 2019; What you need to know

Flexible Working in 2019

Flexible Working in 2019; What you need to know

It’s already common knowledge that the traditional, 9-5, sitting behind a desk working day is on the decline.

In fact, many employers have already introduced a new level of flexibility that allows their workers to adapt their hours, work from home, and possibly even work remotely. There’s also been a huge rise in the number of companies employing the skills of freelancers and contractors.

And with this trend of flexible working set to grow in 2019, it’s certainly something you’ll want to keep an eye on.

We’ve highlighted what’s already happening in the world of flexible working and what’s predicted to come for the rest of the year.

The right to flexible working

Although many employees don’t realise it, they do have a right to request flexible work after they have been in a job for 6 months. Although these requests don’t have to be accepted, as an employer, it is your obligation to consider them in a reasonable manner.

As more employees seek a shift in their work life balance and become aware of their rights surrounding flexible working, you may encounter more enquiries about various types of flexible working in the coming months and years.

With benefits on both sides, it’s likely that both you and your employees could profit from a new approach, so take the time to consider any requests you receive carefully.

Government Support

A partnership across government departments, business groups, trade unions and charities called The Flexible Working Task Force launched a new campaign earlier this year to help increase the uptake of flexible working.

As well as encouraging employers to use the strapline “Happy to talk flexible working” in their job advertisements, they have also published guidance on championing flexible working and have been highlighting the business benefits of flexible working.

Becoming a champion of flexible work can drastically improve your employee satisfaction and help to attract the best talent to your company.

Working Smarter

Thanks to advances in technology, there are many ways that your employees can work smarter, and this often feeds into flexible working.

As well as making it a reasonable request for an employee to work from home or work remotely, working smarter may also means that you can adapt the schedules people work too.

An extreme example of this may come if an employee needs to drop down the hours they work. Rather than losing a talented employee altogether, new technology or methods of doing things that can help them work smarter and in a way that convenient, so they can stay with your company and still find the balance they need.

The four day week

The idea of a four day week has been gaining traction on social networking sites after a handful of companies have adopted the new initiatives.

With reports suggesting that those who worked longer hours were actually less productive, some firms believe it well help to improve the way their employees work, as well as increasing their job satisfaction and giving a better work life balance.

While this is a drastic action that’s impractical for many companies, the logic behind it can be implied in more manageable way. An early finish on a friday, for example, or cutting back on overtime, could be ways you try and offer more flexibility to your employees.

Have you seen any major changes to the way your employees want to work recently? Have you got any plans to incorporate a more flexible policy in 2019? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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5 Reasons To Hire A Contractor

5 REASONS TO HIRE
5 REASONS TO HIRE

5 Reasons To Hire A Contractor

In this blog post I’ll show you how hiring a contractor instead of employing a permanent staff member, can be more beneficial to your business in the long run.

Why do companies hire contractors?

For a number of reasons, one being expertise, perhaps the in-house team do not possess a particular skill-set required to complete a specific task, or maybe they don’t have the time. Whatever the reason, contractors can be a crucial asset to any team.

Contractors are set to be in high demand with the rise of the gig economy, putting businesses ahead of the game in a number of ways, yet many employers remain oblivious to the benefits.

Here’s what you need to know…

1. Contractors are often skilled in a particular area that may be difficult or rare to find in a permanent employee
Contractors are specialists which means they work fast, completing tasks over a preferred amount of time. This is often favoured over permanent employees who are more likely to come in, get the job done and then go on to create more work that didn’t need doing in the first place. The role of a permanent employee will likely include other areas of expertise which may take their attention away from the reason they were hired to be there in the first place.

2. Save money
This one is self-explanatory. Permanent employees are their permanently, contractors aren’t, therefore the cost of hiring a contractor will save a business more money in the long run.

3. Permanent employees have a longer start time
The notice period of permanent employees can vary from one month, to two or more — this only delays the need for the role further. Contractors can not only get the job done faster, but sooner.

4. Less hand holding for contractors
With the built-in technical support that comes with hiring a ClearHub contractor, little input is required from the employer which leaves the contractor to focus on the job at hand. We’re there for them so that you can focus on YOUR priorities. All of our contractors are technically tested to ensure you get the best quality contractor for your business needs. We also match according to company culture and skill, because we understand how important attitude is.

5. ClearHub contractors come with a peace of mind guarantee
If at any point you decide that it’s not working out for any reason, that’s OK. Our risk free guarantee means we’ll replace your contractor free of charge.

These are some of the benefits of hiring a contractor, ClearHub just makes the process better  with support and peace of mind to help you get the job done.

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Tackling the Skills Gap: How to recruit IT talent

tackling
tackling

Tackling the Skills Gap: How to recruit IT talent

Innovation is critical to the technology industry. But over the past few years, the advancement of technology has faced one major roadblock – the availability of skilled workers. And it’s only set to get more difficult to find the talent you need.

We’re going to be looking at what the skills gap really means, how it may be affecting you and what you can do to protect your teams.

What do we mean when we talk about the ‘Skills Gap’?

Although some form of skills gap has been identified in many sectors, technology is the one area it seems to have had the most impact. This may be down to the fact that its an area that changes rapidly, requires specialist knowledge and hasn’t previously received enough attention in the education system.

Reports from 2017 show that an estimated 1.4 million computing/ engineering jobs would need to be filled by 2020 in the UK, with only 400,000 computer science graduates expected to emerge during that time.

In the US, the Bureau of labour statistics has estimated a need for 100,000 new IT workers every year for the next decade. There are currently only 60,000 entering the workforce every year.

Put simply, the level of skills, experience and expertise of jobseekers does not match the requirements of employers. In fact, job ads have been found to list an average of 16.7 hard skills, with resumes listing only an average of only 9.8.

Skills such as cybersecurity, web development, programming and coding are in short supply. But what has caused these areas to experience such a gap?

What has caused this shortage?

Education

Surveys have shown that 60% of companies are looking for coding skills when hiring entry level graduates for IT positions. And while these skills are now being taught in schools to children as young as 5, this is a fairly new introduction in most UK and US syllabuses.

Training

Due to the speed at which technology develops, skills barely stay current for even a few years. With employers reluctant to invest in training, it can become impossible for workers to maintain the level of expertise they need.

Salaries

Salaries for highly sought after skilled roles are increasing, with the best talent commanding a salary that is out of reach for most small companies. This makes the challenge of finding and retaining talent even greater for SME’s.

Brexit

For the UK, Brexit has already begun to have an impact on the skills gap. Applications for tech positions dropped around 10% in the first quarter of 2017 alone. With negotiations dragging out and the future uncertain, skilled workers from the EU are reluctant to take the risk.

What is the effect of this skill shortage?

On a team level, a skills gap can have a significant impact on your business, from a drop in productivity and innovation, poor customer service or even a full roadblock on a projects completion.

You may also notice that a skills gap will increase the stress on the rest of the team, as they are forced to work harder to cover the missing skills. This could have a knock on effect on your staff retention, workplace environment and overall employee well being.

Finding Talent

So what should employers be doing? The first thing employers must do is to look back at their own approach to recruiting technical talent.

As specialists in technical recruitment, we see a trend in the way that employers search for skilled workers. Typically, a hiring manager or HR department will put together a job description, listing skills and the tools they will require the new recruit to use.

However, the huge number of tools and systems available means that finding a highly skilled worker with exactly the right combination of tools and experience becomes incredibly unlikely.

Further to this, for highly specialised roles where the work may be intense but infrequent, many companies create a dual role, making it even more difficult to find an individual with the right mix of skills.

The reality is that a worker with good technology experience and the right attitude will quickly be able to pick up any tools that they haven’t used before, as they’ve likely used something very similar.

A key issue is that HR teams or recruitment firms may not have the depth of knowledge to recognise these similarities, and so may overlook potential candidates due to a missing skill on their CV.

It’s understandable that when employing highly paid tech talent, taking any risks with their skills can be daunting. But a flexible approach to recruitment can pay off in the long run.

As well as providing training for new staff in areas that are essential to you, you can also look at external support solutions to provide a safety net. At ClearHub, this is already built into our offering.

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REDUCE MARKET TIME

The Skills Gap Strategy: Checklist and Guide

Business priorities in constant flux? Does this cause a lack of team productivity?

Our checklist includes five key takeaways you can use to optimise team performance and crush the competition by getting your products to market first.