The most important skill for the future of work is understanding the labour market, says Fabio Rosati, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Elance-oDesk CEO.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Elance-oDesk CEO, Fabio Rosati, gave a talk to the students at BI as part of the President Invites lecture series.

Rosati focused on online work and talent exchange as part of the sharing economy throughout the lecture, giving insightful advice to prospective freelancers and innovators on how to utilise online collaboration to their advantage.

Businesses are nowadays moving faster than ever, focused on agility and demanding certain hot skills that are not always locally available. And, at the same time, talent is moving to the cloud thanks to technology and online professionals are giving freedom and the ability to choose which projects to work on a great importance. So, the good news is that companies can now access talent regardless of location. Platforms such as Elance.com and oDesk.com -which help independent professionals and businesses find each other and work together via the Internet-   supplies to that demand, haves grown into a multi-million dollar business with clients including the likes of Disney and Panasonic.

Sixty years old and hot
Elance-oDesk is not alone in its endeavor to make the world of collaboration a better place, so how has it beaten its competition? Some of the answer may lie in its use of data science analysis to match the right person to the right project. Skills are matched to specific project targets, the nuances of language are monitored to combat cultural differences and individual user progression is tracked to enable accurate talent-spotting.

There is a strong culture at the website for users, at both ends of projects, to continue adding to their toolboxes of skills. Rosati emphasises that both hard and soft skills are essential to stand out from competition, with skills applicable to data science gained from education within economics and statistics, are becoming attractive to employers.

-    Even retirees can make use of talent exchange, especially retired maths or science teachers. If you can apply yourself to data science, you can be sixty years old and hot. Ultimately, you need to do what you are passionate about but you need to gain a layer of languages of the future, such as coding.

If young students and retirees alike can adapt themselves to become essential to online collaboration, then companies must do the same, says Rosati.

Elance adopted WOW

  -    For a company not to die out in two years, it needs to be agile and efficient, he says.

Throughout his lecture, Rosati referred back to the importance of companies reanalyzing their HR systems and tackling outdated employment laws. When there are cumbersome hurdles in HR practices, the right talent can be missed. Instead, employees can look to online staffing where the perfect, perhaps temporary, candidate for a project can be found instantly.

In the Elance culture, rewarding innovation for a company should not stop there.  Often, virtual working environments are more comfortable and productive than physical office spaces. In light of this, Elance adopted WOW – Work Online Wednesdays – where employees could work wherever they wanted to. Productivity, inspiration and efficiency flowed.

In essence, Fabio highlighted the fact that in this age when the world is constantly chasing innovation, work-seekers should always be developing their set of skills and companies should always be reinventing their methods of production. There’s no such thing as a barrier online and any party involved in talent exchange can, and should, take advantage of that gap to make digital collaboration a rewarding experience.

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