Online talent platforms that connect freelancers with specific work opportunities (gigs) have grown dramatically over the last decade. A growing number of online talent platforms follow the contingent employment model but focus on one specialised offering: Uber and Careem for taxi services on demand, Washmen for laundry and Devileroo for takeaways are obvious examples many of us use on a daily basis. All rely on technology to disrupt the traditional models in their industries.
Other platforms focus on business services: Upwork (formerly Elance and oDesk) has created an online platform which has become an international go-to for software programming and graphic design. The company reports that businesses are posting more than 3million freelance jobs every year, generating around $1billion in annual earnings for global freelancers.
What about the energy sector?
In 2013, The Harvard Business Review predicted that the gig economy would disrupt the consulting industry, whereby smaller firms would “assemble leaner project teams of freelance consultants (mostly mid-level and senior alumni of top consultancies) for clients at a small fraction of the cost of traditional competitors.
The reality is that the energy industry has been using contingent labour for decades, but through traditional intermediaries like recruitment agencies. The industry stands to benefit greatly from the digitalisation of platforms to find skilled talent.
2020 brings a new kind of normal where change is abound. Many believe where the gig economy is going to have the most disruptive and innovative effect is where the work is more specialist in nature and executed by more experienced individuals.
Even without considering the chaos caused by Covid 19, activity levels in the energy industry are directly affected by changes in the oil price, meaning there is a constant requirement to ramp up and ramp down quickly, making access to a highly skilled contingent workforce ‘on demand’ critical.
Freelance oil and gas professionals typically carry the pedigree of a distinguished career spanning several decades, across multiple specialisms and geographies. Utilising independent talent brings agility, expertise, innovative thinking and efficiency to organisations. Reputation and professional credibility is key in the industry, and typically prospective candidates are vetted informally, by word of mouth and personal recommendations. Therefore, such tacit rating practices will need to be coded into a platform’s functionality.
Proteus’ Marketplace is designed to attract the best skilled workers. Integrated into the Proteus business operating system, the Marketplace makes Proteus unique. It allows a company to either search for a Freelancer or post their services online. A Freelancer can search for a project or post their services online. This means an Engineer who is used to long-term contract or full-time employment can compete for short-term project roles as and when they are needed. They can enjoy a flexible schedule and remote working from wherever they are.
But really, the Marketplace, and Proteus as a whole, offers the same as any other player in the gig economy. The benefits are not that far removed from the benefits sold by Uber, Deliveroo and Washmen: it’s easy, immediate, convenient and cost efficient. Imagine you want a Reservoir Engineer for six weeks. You find them in the Marketplace, complete with a peer review. Three clicks later and they are part of your project. Imagine how hard that would be in the non-Proteus world!!