The Freelancing in America report revealed the freelance economy is growing three times faster than the overall U.S. workforce. As the gig economy grows, online platforms that source in-demand talent are abundant.
The most in-demand freelance request? Data Scientists. These roles are experiencing a 29 percent increase in demand and upwards of a 300 percent increase since 2013. While job openings for data scientists are skyrocketing, job searches are only increasing 14 percent, further indicating the gap between supply and demand.
While platforms like Upwork offer a wide range of freelance specialists, Toptal and Kolabtree focus on sourcing data scientists. The newer platform, Kolabtree, has over 10,000 freelancers with degrees from Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Cambridge and some freelancers publicize lengthy projects with well-known organizations like NASA to separate themselves from competitors.
As organizations increasingly rely on data-driven insights, data scientists bring a premium. “To acquire and retain today’s increasingly empowered customers, companies need to harness the insights from their data…,” said Brandon Purcell, an analyst for Forrester Research.
“Data scientists are crucial in turning the massive amount of data captured by companies into action. They’ve always been in high demand, but until recently, only large enterprises and digital natives were willing to make a significant investment. Now, almost everyone is.” He also suggests that the rise of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning could factor in the dramatic increase in demand for data scientists.
The current demand for scientists inspired the creators of Kolabtree to help fill the skills gap. “Ph.D. scientists are realizing that they are able to offer significant value to businesses seeking to solve a complex issue,” said Ashmita Das, Kolabtree Co-Founder and CEO.
“At the same time, we are seeing strong demand from organizations looking for expert freelancers to help with projects that require a high level of expertise. We see a wide range of examples from food startups looking for a food scientist to convert a kitchen recipe into a shelf-stable product, to business consulting firms looking to collect literature on the characteristics of female leadership. The list is endless.”
The registered scientists on these platforms bring expertise in:
- Statistical review
- Data analytics
- Literature search
- Scientific consulting
- Experimental design
- Machine learning
As technology advances, the need for skillful data scientists and scientific experts will increase. No matter the technical need, there are various online platforms that have capitalized on the skills gap and can now help companies fill in the spaces.