Hiring-as-you-go sets trend for future workplace
FANS of the "Four Hour Working Week" will know that author Tim Ferris is an ardent supporter of virtual assistants and other methods of employing people as you need them.
The trend is getting bigger in the United States -- something that offers opportunities to both Irish employers and those who want to sell their special skills.
By hiring workers online, employers have access to a huge range of employees. The growth of this market means that there are now many companies and individuals around the world acting as contractors.
When Casey McConnell started text messaging marketing company Qittle, he took the traditional route of hiring onsite employees.
But he soon realised it was more advantageous to hire workers online.
"We found it was easy to find these specialists or people that we could hire for a certain amount," said McConnell, the chief executive of Qittle. "We didn't have the extra overhead and we just got the project done. It's really easy for us to ramp up our needs or pull back using contractors. If we had an internal staff it's pretty hard to fluctuate like that."
Qittle's preference to hire workers in the cloud is reflected in Elance's recent survey that shows 83pc of small businesses in the United States plan to hire half their workers online within the next 12 months. Only 10pc of those surveyed plan to hire predominantly onsite workers.
Elance, a US marketplace for online workers, has posted more than 600,000 jobs ranging from programmers to virtual assistants. Small businesses prefer to hire online because of flexibility, speed and economy of the process cost, according to Fabio Rosati, the chief executive of Elance.
"So if you're a small business owner, you can think of a hybrid model of hiring (online and onsite workers)," said Mr Rosati.
"You can think about what skills and what talent you need onsite. You can also decide what skillset you need to be in the cloud, which is much more cost-effective and much more flexible."
Elance's Online Employment Report shows the number of businesses hiring online has increased by 107pc since last year. Elancers earned 51pc more last year and earned a record $38m in the third quarter of this year.
Mr Rosati said more and more companies will decide to hire in the cloud. "I predict that at some point 99pc of businesses will have between 5-10pc of their hiring done online because it makes so much sense."
But for Mr McConnell, hiring online is the only way to go. Qittle plans to only hire workers from the cloud.
"As a business we'd rather stay small and nimble and we'd rather contract out through individuals or businesses."(Additional reporting Reuters)