Workana bets freelancers can bridge the tech talent gap in Southeast Asia

Freelancers can offer amazing talent to companies looking to grow digitally. Source: Shutterstock

TRADITIONAL organizations looking to digitally transform often complain about the lack of experience or skilled tech professionals in the market – but they ignore the freelancers available to them.

Freelancers, a pool of talent who are often very experienced, can be found in almost all areas and industries – from programming and IT to design and marketing.

Workana, a Latin American platform that connects freelancers with businesses, believes businesses need to leverage non-traditional talent pools to accelerate their digital journey.

The company recently took a look at Southeast Asia and opened an office in Kuala Lumpur to expand its presence as a catalyst for the freelance talent market.

Tech Wire Asia spoke to Alejandro Kikuchi, Head of International Growth, about the company’s plans and vision for growth in Southeast Asia and the opportunities that are emerging for SMEs and companies looking to grow digitally.

“Back in Latin America, Workana is working with companies like Unilever and small and medium-sized businesses to help them find the freelancers with the right skills – including technology skills.”

Kikuchi and his team, who have worked in Southeast Asia for the past several months, see similar demand for technology skills in the region and believe the freelance market in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia can meet some of that demand.

“Of course, we companies may have three suggestions from technology freelancers right now. In the future we would like to be able to offer up to 10 – but that will come. “

There is great talent in Southeast Asia, according to Kikuchi.

In the few months that Workana has been in the region, around 7,000 freelancers have been brought on board, many of whom bring skills such as front-end web development, Android and iOS development, and data science to the platform.

“We will have more freelancers going forward, and given the demand for technological skills, I am sure we will attract the right talent.”

Currently, many of the top technology freelancers in Southeast Asia work full-time on the Workana platform, which equates to more than 40 hours per week.

“Every now and then we even see freelancers working 52 to 60 hours a week, and while this is not advisable, we see some people who choose because they like the job and have the flexibility to adjust their hours to suit their schedule – Both of which go a long way in helping them do high quality work. “

The interesting thing about the freelance market is that it enables university students to bring their skills to the market.

Aside from full and part-time internships, university students don’t have many opportunities to work on real-world projects.

Freelance platforms such as Workana allow students to explore new projects based on the “scope of work” and “project description” shared by organizations online, and allow them to put their time and expertise into the business of the project.

“We make this possible because we sometimes see that university children have a lot of talent,” admitted Kikuchi, which in Southeast Asia, with all the technology courses, is a large talent pool for companies to fall back on.

Workana doesn’t suggest that working with freelancers is a long-term solution for companies entering the digital age, but it makes it easy to find talent when skills are in short supply or not available in everyday talent pools.

With development teams in today’s organizations in mind, many of the requirements are short-term – especially routine development work – that can be outsourced to allow the team to focus on more creative tasks that are central to the company’s digital transformation.

When companies are willing to consider freelancing for jobs that are difficult to fill, it may mean a little extra work for managers, but it could be a good decision for those who want to make sure they are quick to adopt the technology, to inspire customers and customers. Climb the digital maturity curve.

Soumik Roy
| @ Soumikroy

Soumik Roy is a business and technology specialist. It helps small and medium-sized businesses understand what is most important to the growth and success of their business.

April 1, 2021