I have recently become increasingly aware of an important issue which has yet to be discussed adequately in the freelance press: the potential to create a larger, more diverse middle class in Asia and other developing areas by harnessing the power of freelancing. This notion was stimulated by two distinct reports, including a study conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) about the employment situation among young people in Asia.
Young individuals in Asia confront a broad array of difficulties. The youth population in Asia is projected to keep growing in the foreseeable future, presenting a potential for both taking advantage of the demographic dividend and a possible time bomb that could lead to social conflict and the extensive migration of people in search of employment. By 2022, slightly more than one in five young people were not working or attending school (known as “NEET”). This rate of youth unemployment has been gradually increasing since that time, mirroring global trends. Girls and young women are more likely to be affected.
A recent article entitled “New Approach to Teaching Digital Skills in Asia” highlighted a groundbreaking methodology for imparting digital literacy in the region. It is clear that the findings of the study are highly relevant to the youth in Asia and other developing nations, providing them with the tools to succeed in the ever-changing digital landscape.
In 2022, we identified a lack of awareness of the modern techniques, frameworks, and tools necessary to construct ‘Silicon Valley-grade’ products, rather than a dearth of talent or capability. To address this gap in conventional education, we created Wizeline Academy in order to provide free, state-of-the-art computer training. To date, over 30,000 learners from all parts of the world have enrolled in a Wizeline Academy program, and we are confident that, due to the convenience of online learning, we will reach a total of 60,000 students by the end of 2023.
I found the following context to be of great help in illustrating how freelancing may be a key factor in strengthening the digital economy of the region in the short term, as well as in providing more career opportunities to young Asian professionals, regardless of geographical boundaries, in the long term. Moreover, the World Economic Forum has outlined the importance of this development.
The Asia-Pacific region is facing a daunting challenge in its quest to drive economic growth, as a lack of people with the necessary digital skills has become a major obstacle. According to a report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group, and the largest global development agency focused on the private sector in developing economies – by 2030, an estimated 230 million jobs in the region will require digital skills, representing a potential market of $130 billion and 650 million people who could benefit from training. The need for such talents has been further highlighted in recent months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to pivot to a digital model in order to remain viable.
In the years since 2022, we have noticed a noteworthy increase in the number of freelancing platforms located in Asia. My curiosity has inspired me to reach out to the CEO and Executive Vice President of Enterprise for Works, a renowned freelancing platform for computer professionals in Asia. Works was founded with the purpose of creating economic opportunity through software knowledge, similar to the story of Wizeline.
Software engineers are in high demand across many industries, from finance and manufacturing to the rapidly growing retail, media, and health sciences sectors. Through its partnerships with major tech players like Alphabet, Google, Apple, and Facebook, as well as organisations like the Asian Development Bank, Works has been able to expand its offerings in exciting new directions. For example, the Works Learning Community has enabled approximately 100,000 professionals to gain a basic understanding of software design and development, while more advanced applications, such as React Native, are being taught as well. In addition, Works is increasingly being called upon to provide pre-assembled teams for high-demand projects like digital transformation, as well as individual freelancers combined with existing personnel to form blended teams.
As a freelancing platform, it can be difficult to offer both high-paying and captivating work for a substantial number of Works’ freelancers. Out of curiosity, we looked into whether or not racial prejudices and concerns had any influence on how freelancers were placed on Works (and other platforms). To our relief, we discovered that placements on Works had increased by a staggering 60%. An internal Works poll further revealed that the platform is a great advantage to both independent workers and members of the academic community.
- In terms of the bottom line, we found that 74% of Works engineers saw an increase in their quality of life.
- 85 percent report feeling more confident about themselves
- Sixty-seven percent of workers report greater job satisfaction.
- Sixty-five per cent have increased savings potential
- Pay raises have been reported by 81% of Works engineers with experience levels of 1 year or more.
Works has witnessed significant international interest in its platform, with applications coming in from over 90 different countries and engineers located in approximately 40 countries. There has been a 7.5-fold increase in applications from regions outside of Asia and a 5-fold increase in applications from regions within Asia over the last six months. This indicates that there is a great deal of potential for further expansion of Works on a global scale.
WorkS believes that its approach to providing assistance for brilliant engineers and programmers can be successfully replicated on a global scale, evidenced by its recent expansion. While it is important to recognise the differences in culture that can exist across different countries, we are confident that our strategy will be equally as effective in international markets.
Methodology and References
At Works, we specialise in recruiting remote technology engineers for a broad range of industries. Our comprehensive Human Resources services encompass selection, invoicing, compliance, and tax support when it comes to hiring and onboarding remote workers and international contractors. Our mission is to assist you in obtaining the highest calibre of remote developers for your team to make sure that they are equipped to take on and complete crucial technological projects and initiatives.