Tech professionals
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Are tech professionals the most mobile workforce in the world?

9 Jan 2017

With technological language consistent across the world, the tech professionals are becoming the most mobile workforce in the world.

The only constant thing in life is change, and that counts doubly when it comes to the technology sector. With software, online communication and global need for technical skills, tech professionals might be the most migratory workforce in the world.

At home, mobility opportunities are now considered a key element when it comes to attracting talent. According to a report from PwC, 71pc of the millennial generation expect an overseas assignment during their career.

Due to the global languages in software development, coding and data analytics, technological proficiency can be considered one of the most transferable skills in the world.

Relocation aside, the freelance market is growing so fast that it’s expected to make up 50pc of the American workforce – a big part of this market is made up of tech professionals.

Those trends are similar on this side of the Atlantic, too.

With a growing number of freelancers who are not tied to any one company, the scope to go mobile (even internationally) is huge. This means more companies are hiring freelancers and mobile employees than before.

PwC’s talent and mobility report took a sample of 900 companies. In 1998, the average number of locations per company was 13. This number rose to 22 a decade later. With this growing trend, this is expected to grow by 50pc in 2020 to an average of 33 locations per company.

Why is this appealing for companies?

Mobile employees and freelance tech professionals will be hugely beneficial to companies. For a start, they will save extra fixed rates on recruitment, pensions and healthcare, which they typically offer their full-time employees.

A survey by the Office of National Statistics on trends in self-employment in the UK highlighted that the level of self-employment had increased by around 730,000 between 2008 and 2015, rising from 3.8m to 4.6m.

In particular, companies might have technical projects that will not require permanent or full-time employees. This is where mobile technology professionals are most beneficial.

Why are more tech employees are going mobile?

Albeit not the most stable choice of work, freelancing comes with a lot of balance, and has become a choice rather than a necessity for many employees.

With globally transferable skills, a tech professional can go to where the talent gaps are. They have the freedom to choose where they want to work.

Even when it comes to language barriers for many other professions, the languages in technology remain consistent, making tech professionals’ work easy to bring abroad.

What will the future look like?

Freelancers and independent contractors already make up a significant amount of the technology workforce. While there will always be a place for full-time employees in stationary companies, the latter will have to consider their employees borderless.

Companies will need strategies in place to seamlessly relocate their employees when necessary. They will also need to adopt the necessary technologies for their employees to work remotely if they haven’t already.

The technology sector is still experiencing a skills shortage and one of the ways this can be combatted is for the workforce to be able to move around and use their skills internationally, while more stationary employees can continue to upskill.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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