How the freelance market is changing, which special skills are most rapidly growing in demand, how the blockchain will help to find a job: all these topics are discussed in the interview to CoinFox by Iskander Galiev, founder of the decentralised platform Unolabo.

CoinFox: What are the main trends on the freelance market?

Iskander Galiev: The world is rapidly evolving in the direction of the Workforce Marketplace pattern: year after year, the freelancers who sell their services online, are supplanting office employees. The idea of the freelance as a market focused on the IT sector is a long-forgotten past. The growth of the global freelance market is driven by unskilled jobs. At the same time, both employers and freelancers are becoming more exigent to the online services, especially to such features as the safety of transactions, the user reputation and the easy payment.

By 2020, the freelance market will become to change under the influence of “The next billion users” trend (the name was proposed by tech giants). This billion will mostly consist of semi-literate or illiterate people from the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Mobile phones and Internet become more and more accessible to them every year. The inflow of such a number of users as expected in the next two years will undoubtedly influence both the freelance market and the features of mobile applications helping self-employed people find jobs. Such applications will grow in demand, especially ones with user-friendly voice and video features and embedded solutions enabling users to assess the global demand for skills that would allow them to quickly develop those that are in highest demand on the labour market.

CoinFox: Will the freelance remain a solution for a narrow circle of professions or is their list becoming wider?

Iskander Galiev: It is definitely becoming wider. For instance, the hype segments emerge. Currently, one of such segments is the market of ICO services which exploded in growth thanks to the development of the blockchain. Inside this segment, a very high demand is present for the skills of blockchain developers and experts in marketing, advertisement and public relations of crowdfunding projects.

CoinFox: What is the portrait of the modern freelancer and what will it be in 10-20 years?

The modern freelancer is a person that values freedom, mobility, looks for an optimum balance between the work and the private life. The freelance market is still dominated by jobs and services that can be accomplished online. However, the modern freelancer uses his skills in one or several closely related professions and is not flexible enough to follow the change of trends on the labour market. The emergence of taskers attracted to the market new kind of freelancers, those who offer services that can only be carried out offline. Usually these are unskilled workers.

Freelancers of the new generation will react more flexibly to the changes on the labour market. These are first and foremost young people, from 16 to 18 years old, ones that are accustomed to master new skills on the run. They will be able to change their occupations depending on the demand for different skills, in the same time always aspiring to earn money with something they love to do, with their hobby.

For them, Internet will be the principal and the global source for mastering new skills. They have already the understanding that the system of education that takes three to five years to prepare a specialist cannot keep pace with the progress of technology. They do not rely on state support and they could not wish less to depend on it. This is a generation of cosmopolitans, those who will work and earn where it is more comfortable for them. They will prefer to be paid in such cryptocurrencies that are the least influenced by any state. Fiat money will completely lose their value for them.

Accordingly, their requirements for freelance services they are going to use will change as well. Such a service will be expected to be smart and capable of acting as their personal agent that would find job for the users in accordance with their interests in the place where the users are currently situated and to solve all problems related to currency issues and to payments from customers.

The service should be able to forecast the changes in the global labour market related to the user’s skills and to plan a programme of acquiring new skills or developing the existing ones, to connect the users with right experts to teach them or to find online learning programmes. Unolabo is one of the few companies that are already doing research in this area. By the end of 2018, we plan to commercialize a blockchain-based application that will be able to carry out most of these function

CoinFox: Which freelance professions are currently in highest demand?

Iskander Galiev: This year, the first place in the top of most demanded skills belongs to Natural Language Processing. The revenue of freelancers specialized in developing systems helping people to voice communicate with machines has increased 2300%.

A quickly developing trend is Deep Learning. Development experts in the AI field are in such high demand that they are hard to find among freelancers. Tech giants compete with each other to get such specialists in their team. The experts receive offers that are hard to refuse.

CoinFox: Does the attitude of employers towards the freelance jobs change?

Iskander Galiev: Employers with a long experience of hiring freelancers are able to develop more efficient patterns of interaction with remote employees.

They understand the whole importance of the quality of hire, elaboration of features, clear understanding of employee’s functions. If the persons are recruited as a part of the team, they should be paid salary no matter if there is work for them or not while side specialists are usually paid for a concrete result. .

Such employers build a well-organized workflow in their company, clearly specifying which work is to be done by the personnel and which can be outsourced, allowing them to economise up to 50-70% of resources.

CoinFox: How the blockchain can be used on the freelance market?

Iskander Galiyev: Blockchain-based smart contracts can solve main problems of freelancers that cannot be solved by existing freelance platforms such as the absence of social guarantees, the necessity for them to pay their medical insurance themselves, the absence of old-age pensions, the high risk of bad faith for both customers and executors, difficulties in obtaining loans from the bank.

The transactions carried out with the help of the blockchain make it possible to preserve the results of every transaction in a decentralised way and to keep the hash of feedback by customers. The decentralised preservation of the transaction data will make it possible to exclude any risk of misrepresentation of the second party to the transaction and will render transparent the rating of every user.

Insurance companies, retirement funds and banks, when offering their services to the users, will be able to evaluate their social reputation based on the data about every their transaction. The smart contract does not only regulate the transactions between the executors and their customers; it will also allow making deductions for medical insurance, future pension and paying off the loans. Such deductions, possible after every transaction, will follow the pattern selected by the users and will be paid to the companies selected by the users. All this will be done automatically, demanding little involvement of the users.

In the case of emergence of a controversial issue among users, the smart contract will address the system that would find arbiters among the users. The criterion used to select the arbiters will be their high rating in the field of the litigation. This arbitration will be decentralised, with arbiters having access only to the history of transactions in which both users participated and to their rating.

CoinFox: Does it mean that the blockchain is more suitable for the freelance market than to the search for office employees?

Iskander Galiyev: The blockchain allows for the creation of more flexible fintech instruments that can be regularly updated to respond to the demands of the labour market. The companies that hire people to work in the office, are limited by the unflexible labour laws that cannot keep pace with the constantly evolving labour market?

CoinFox: What difficulties do the freelancers have to face?

Iskander Galiyev: Freelancers are constantly obliged to search for new orders themselves, and they also have to plan their budget because their income is uneven if compared with a fixed salary. In many countries, a freelancer can hardly count on social guarantees, medical insurance and old-age pension, offered by the state. Self-employed people have constant difficulties to get the approval for their bank loan requests. They need additional efforts for self-motivation and time management.

Another issue worth noting is the high risk of fraud and bad faith on the part of the employer. If the transaction is made through an Internet resource where the parties to the transaction are impossible to identify, the very fact of contractual relations becomes hard to prove for the freelancer.

The Unolabo Skillmarket project is a practical solution to these problems of the freelance market.

The problem of motivation is solved with the help of MotiVa bonuses. Unolabo MotiVa is a partner programme of loyalty, a system of rewards for the professional development. These bonuses would be possible to trade for points and miles of air companies, to use for acquiring a medical insurance, for paying the training courses, master classes and many other things.

All the transactions will be recorded in the blockchain. This unchangeable data will be used to evaluate the freelancers. The decentralised arbitration will be used to solve litigations, barring both the freelancer and the employer from infringing on each other’s rights.

Unlike many other platforms, our system will not perceive any fee for transactions.

When the work is accomplished, the payment will come automatically thanks to a special smart contract. It will also reduce the risk of fraud and of bad faith regarding the work made by freelancers. All the transactions will be made in the safety and transparency of the blockchain.

The smart contract will not only guarantee the accomplishment of transactions between the executors and the customers but also define the conditions of the interaction of the freelancers with insurance companies and international pension funds.

Unolabo uses the decentralisation and the blockchain technology to develop a solution that will greatly influence the global freelance market in the nearest two or three years. For more information, see the project.