Author: Ir. Dr. Justin LAI Woon Fatt | 28 November, 2019
The sharing economy has existed since ancient times. Practically, it has been practiced among close family members and friends. Nowadays, it emerges as one of the alternatives in maximizing the natural resource constraints, such as sharing economy introduced connecting the online and offline world through the source of the Internet in maximizing the existing assets and resources. The sharing economy generates values by matching these assets with consumers willing to pay for the services provided generated from the asset. The existing services such as accommodation from the hotels and transportation from the taxi have available outside of the formal hotel and taxi industry.
Various start-ups by utilizing websites and applications such as in car sharing (Uber, GrabCar, Zipcar), peer-to-peer car sharing (Whipcar, RelayRides, SnappCar), personal and miscellaneous services (Airtime, GetMaid), bike sharing (Bixi, HZ Bike), movies (Netflix, Quickflix), peer-to-peer rental (Airbnb, Globetroopers) shows that the arising sharing economy platforms from time to time in current marketplace.
Is sharing economy concept applicable in architectural and engineering consultancy services?
Those who practise in the construction industry will not be strange with freelance architects or freelance engineers. Some of them carry the job title of the associate architect or associate engineer to practise as professionals. Freelancing is becoming more prevalent.
Over the past five years, due to facing a shrinking labor market in providing more full-time jobs, Americans have opted to become freelancers. Between 2014 and 2018, 3.7 million more people have started freelance. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of the entire population of Connecticut. According to the results of the FIA, there are now 56.7 million freelancers in America.
It’s the time of the freelancer. Even with the challenges faced by freelancers (such as the unpredictability of income and lack of benefits), more and more workers are either totally quitting their traditional jobs in favor of a more flexible schedule or maintaining the security of a permanent position while freelancing on the side. With the numbers constantly growing, it makes sense that freelancers would eventually attract the interest of corporations. The following are the main reasons why companies love to hire freelancers.
1. Specialized Skills and Expertise
Freelancers have always been stigmatized, and many claim that they are not as professional as their full-time counterparts. This is not true, especially as of late. Since freelancing provides freedom and flexibility that is difficult in typical 9-to-5 employment, many workers are turning to it as either their sole source of income or additional income. The talent pool is therefore increasing rapidly, meaning that people in different fields utilize their knowledge and expertise for freelancing jobs.
Companies are responsible for providing benefits to full-time employees, including health insurance, paid time off and sick leave, which are all expenses that the company has to pay. Freelancers are free agents, not the permanent employees of the company, so the employer does not need to provide benefits to freelancers. This is an advantage for employers, but a disadvantage for freelancers who lose their money whenever they take a vacation or get sick.
3. Project-Based Work
A full-time employee is not necessarily required in all projects and tasks as projects are one-off assignments that have different start and end times throughout the year. Also, different skill sets may be needed in different projects which makes hiring one person full-time to complete them are not making sense. That’s where the freelancers shine.
Implementation of sharing economy concept could be initiated by creating a Business to Business (B2B) online platform that offers to match freelance professionals and employers. With the existence of this online platform, project clients could source for various construction industry experts and professionals easily.
IPM has started the initiative to pool the construction industry experts and professionals in Malaysia since the year 2016 and now we have more than hundreds of associates registered with us. Main advantages to IPM associates include desirable career option with ample space for personal and career development; flexible working time to suit personal schedules; diversify income to earn extra wages; mega projects exposure to gain practical and hands on experience; personal brand development to advance career journey. Apart from that, IPM actively collaborates with regional professional firms. (Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, India, and China)
We strongly believe one day we will achieve our vision to be ASEAN’s largest professional consultancy firm in the building and construction industry, contributing to great civilisation in the ASEAN region. What you need to do is stay with us!
Ir. Dr. Justin LAI Woon Fatt