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How the gig economy will shape 2016

Sharon Florentine | Dec. 9, 2015
The gig economy is making a major impact on the IT industry, and millions of IT pros are taking advantage of the flexibility, freedom and income-generating potential it has to offer. Here's what's hot (and what's not) in the gig economy for 2016.

What's hot: Independent consultants -- What's not: Huge consulting firms

As enterprise services move to the cloud and technology becomes increasingly mobile-centric, business are turning to lean, independent consultants and freelancers with a strong integration background to serve their IT consulting needs and work individually with existing IT teams and other contractors, says Pearson. There's no longer a great need for large, unwieldy teams of consultants who may move more slowly or can't get their hands dirty on integration projects.

"We saw in 2015 that the number of businesses spending money on large IT consulting projects in our marketplace increased by 22 percent year-over-year. These larger projects indicate that more companies are enlisting independent consultants or small agencies for projects. At the same time, we're seeing a slowdown in growth in the traditional IT consulting market that includes major firms," Pearson says.

Smaller teams or individual freelance consultants often come with highly specialized skills and can work with almost surgical precision to get in, get the job completed and get out much more efficiently and effectively than a large, more generalized IT consulting team, he says.

What's hot: Dynamic presentation skills -- What's not: PowerPoint skills 

Companies are increasingly looking for new, dynamic ways to create and deliver corporate presentations, and PowerPoint just isn't cutting it in the business world, says Pearson. Dynamic presentations with superior graphics and animation and the ability to be interactive is all the rage.

The amount of money businesses spent hiring for Microsoft PowerPoint skills decreased by 5 percent year-over-year, while spend for projects that need Prezi and Keynote skills increased by 23 percent and 18 percent, respectively, according to Upwork's data.

"This is an area where we're seeing a massive shift in demand for a particular skill -- and it's a big one. PowerPoint has cornered the market for so long, but now we're seeing huge demand for Prezi, Keynote and other dynamic presentation tools like Google slides. Whether that's a collective cheer you hear from the market or a collective groan remains to be seen," Pearson says.

What's hot: Video -- What's not: Infographics

Upwork's data shows a significant increase in business spend on video-related skills like Adobe Aftereffects (115 percent year-over-year), video production (36 percent YoY) and Motion Graphics (117 percent YoY). This is driven by the continuing evolution of content marketing and the advertising potential inherent in video (think of all those pre-roll ads you're seeing), as companies race to be the first to take advantage of video ad offerings, Pearson says.

"Platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are continuing to expand their video ad offerings, and companies like Vine and Twitter with its Moments feature are jumping on this bandwagon. Businesses tried infographics, but quickly realized they weren't reaching their audiences as effectively as they should be -- now they need to hire skilled video pros who can develop high-quality content quickly," Pearson says.

 

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