Expects STEM-related jobs to grow by double digits this year
Aims to grow user base to more than 15.5 million by year-end
FREELANCER Ltd, which operates the freelancing, outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace Freelancer.com, says there has been an increase of postings on STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) projects on its portal this year, partly driven by new technological trends.
“The Internet of Things (IoT) wave has just begun and it is only getting stronger, so we can expect more related jobs to come in,” said Freelancer South-East Asia regional director Evan Tan.
“Overall, we think there has been a strengthened interest in STEM globally. Our data is showing that STEM jobs are continuing to grow. We won’t be surprised if it grows by double digits this year,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
Currently, more than half of the 600 job categories on its platform are STEM-related, Tan revealed.
Meanwhile, Frost & Sullivan in its Analysis of The Internet of Things Market in Asia Pacific report, highlighted that Asia Pacific spending on IoT is expected to grow from less than US$10 billion in 2014 to more than US$57.9 billion by 2020.
The market and research firm also expects countries like India, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to be some of the fastest growing IoT markets in Asia Pacific from 2014 to 2017.
In a report on the IoT, Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of IoT solutions will originate from startups that are less than three years old.
Freelancer, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), has more than 7.1 million project postings to date. The growing number of STEM projects did not happen overnight, but has been growing steadily over the past few years.
In 2014, the company saw a double-digit growth in mathematics (including Matlab and Mathematica), electrical engineering, electronics, three dimension (3D) rendering and 3D design related projects.
“During 2014, a lot of jobs involving iOS, Windows and Android were prevalent on our platform. In fact, Apple broke seven consecutive quarters of Android’s dominance, with iPad and iPhone development projects up by 11% compared with Android's 9.1% increase,” said Tan.
“Microsoft Stack also heated up last year, as SQL Server and ASP.net listings shot up by 259% and 179%,” he added.
Addressing millennials’ needs
Today, 74% of Freelancer.com’s users are millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000), a group which has totally different priorities when comes to careers, said Tan (pic).
“Millennials are not interested in getting just any job. For them, it is no longer enough to climb the corporate ladder.
“Instead, these professionals are looking for jobs that [can make] a positive change for the community,” he said.
Tan said that many talented millennials have decided to leave large organisations and instead work for themselves.
“Roughly 70% of millennials see themselves working independently at some point, rather than being employed within a traditional organisational structure,” he said.
To keep “talented millennials happy and loyal,” companies will need to come up with new approaches, Tan argued.
“Millennials are very apprehensive of companies which are solely profit-centric, because a lot of times, this means that they sacrifice the social good in order to make a buck.
“Companies should be able to convince these wary young professionals that profit does not necessarily mean sacrificing people in the process,” he explained.
Employers should also keep in mind that the workplace is going to change over the next five years.
“Millennials value work-life balance, looking for more flexible work hours. Most of them are unwilling to commit to making their work lives an exclusive priority, even with the promise of substantial compensation.
“Technology gives millennials more flexibility and increases work efficiency, and millennials expect to have access to the best tools for collaboration and execution.
“It is now the task of companies to learn and adapt to the needs of millennials, while at the same time, still fulfilling the needs of the business,” said Tan.
South-East Asia to drive growth
Currently, Freelancer.com has more than 14.4 million users on its platform. The company hopes to hit 15 million users by May, and at least 15.5 million by the end of this year.
A substantial part of the growth is expected to come from South-East Asia.
“Currently we have over 1.5 million users from South-East Asia. We saw a huge growth in the number of South-East Asian professionals – close to 500,000 new users in the last 12 months,” said Tan.
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