The term crowdsourcing was used for the first time in 2005 to christen the practice of outsourcing work to a crowd of skilled people. Perhaps the best way to understand how crowdsourcing works is the example of ‘Wikipedia’ – this comprehensive encyclopedia owes its success to a large number of contributors from across the globe, who collect and update the information on the platform on their own. In the course of time, crowdsourcing has become quite a trend in the corporate sector, and has now branched into several derivatives; the newest addition being crowdworking.
Simply an extension to crowdsourcing, crowdworking entails sourcing a range of workers to support various tasks that may not require full-time resources. The idea quickly picked up pace and has grown in scope and ambition with the rise of the Internet, which has made collaborative work very easy. Anyone who wants a job done can simply go on any of the digital crowdworking platforms and pick from a host of willing workers. It also provides freelancers, who span a wide range of skills and pay levels, to find work of their choice and establish a constant flow of income.
What’s in store for crowdworking?
In this new age of digitisation, the outlook of businesses and individual workers across the globe has undergone a change. A number of avenues for flexible employment have opened up today beyond traditional workplace hierarchies, from contractual or on-call work to the booming crowdworking sector. While not all jobs are dispensable, there are quite a number of micro tasks that can be done by anyone with access to the Internet and requisite skills for the job.
Some of the industries that have seen a bump in the number of freelance workers associated with them and are likely to benefit the most from the crowdworking model include:
- Graphic Designing
- Social Media Management
- Software Development
- Market Research
- Content Writing & Blogging
- Education & Training
The reason why more and more new-age firms, particularly start-ups, are now reaching out to crowdworkers more than ever is because this model is more effective. It offers the possibility of increasing quality of results as well as saves time and costs. Moreover, it brings to the table the skills, expertise and knowledge of a wider talent pool than what is available in-house. This allows the firm and the professional to grow together as they work towards fulfilling their individual goals.
Freedom from the strictures of a 9 to 5 job particularly seems inviting to the millennials, who prefer the flexible arrangements of paid crowdwork. The motivation it provides to work on your own terms and at the same time, earn money, gain experience and learn something new with each assignment is simply irresistible. It is such a simple and easy character of crowdworking that it will, without any doubt, flourish and constitute a larger fraction of the economy in the coming years.
Global patterns suggest that the US accounts for the largest crowdworking industry in the world with more than 3 million people working from home on digital platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk. Developing countries like India are slowly catching up as more and more skilled people look at freelancing as a viable long-term employment option, especially due to the dearth of better pay, good opportunities and work-life balance in the traditional marketplace.
Mobilising a crowd to accomplish a task, as opposed to hiring salaried employees, is bound to have a positive impact on the social and economic growth as well – both locally and globally. This business model not just offers flexibility to the working class, but also expands opportunities for those willing to get into the race – for instance students, housewives and retirees. Hence, paid crowdwork may be an effective tool, in the coming years, to improve social mobility and promote economic growth.
Irrespective of the difference in incentives and work structures that crowdworking entails, it is surely a win-win for both the job creator and job seeker. Keeping this dynamic in mind, it would be safe to say that as crowdworking expands, it will unlock an incredible number of career opportunities in the online marketplaces across the world and bring a revolutionary change in the employment sector.