For several years, young people and professionals have been leaving Haiti, mainly for economic reasons. For their part, many Indians and Bangladeshis stay at home and take advantage of freelancing, which is a real work opportunity. This article discusses the supply and demand for contracts in this market and shows that Haitians can also benefit from it.
The Haitian media less often evoke the theme of employment than they do the exchange rate or inflation. However, it remains a major concern of the population, as it is an indicator of the level of well-being. Moreover, the departure of young Haitians for Chile is often justified by the lack of work in Haiti. The same goes for professionals who leave for Western countries like Canada. Yet, thanks to the internet, many people are now able to work for employers located in other countries without having to travel. Are such opportunities accessible to Haitians?
The freelancer is, like a consultant, an independent worker who often works on a specific mission. This activity is experiencing a new impetus with online freelancing. It is a market managed by platforms that allow companies or individuals to offer employment contracts so they become employers. On these same platforms, individual professionals or service companies are looking for contracts; they are applicants.
In general, on a freelancing platform, the employer is not looking for an employee with whom he will have face-to-face contact. Conversely, when an applicant obtains a contract, he does not necessarily go to the company or the individual who hired him. The work is generally carried out remotely and transmitted online. This is why, on a freelancing platform, employers and applicants who reside in different countries are able to collaborate.
The countries with the highest numbers of applicants seeking contracts on these platforms are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines. These six countries represent 73.79% of the demand for freelance contracts. The number of claimants from Haiti is so low that it is barely representative.
Can Haitians still take advantage of this freelance job market?
The market is open to everyone, but certain tests may be requested to verify the skills claimed by the freelancer. Registration on the platforms is generally free, but in this case, the platform takes a commission from the payment received by the professional. Once registered, the freelancer has access to contract offers and can respond to them by submitting proposals. There is already a demand for contracts in this market from Haitian professionals, mainly IT specialists. In fact, according to data compiled by the University of Oxford, all requests for contracts from freelancers in Haiti are in the technology and software development category. By analyzing the areas for which a contract offer exists, we see there are opportunities for other professionals in Haiti. Also, some jobs, like data entry, don’t require a lot of skills.
Because it is open to everyone, the freelancing market is very competitive, including for work that requires technical skills. For some jobs, employers are very selective, looking for experienced and certified profiles. Offers can come from students as well as from public or private institutions. This is why the salaries offered vary according to the scope of the work to be carried out and the profile of the person offering the contract.
Language is also an important element to take into account by Haitians who want to work freelance. The main language of this market is English. Among the main employers, only Canada and France are French-speaking. This is revealed by the study of platforms carried out by the iLabor project of the University of Oxford, in which it is specified that French-speaking Canadian professionals also use English. Employers from non-English speaking countries generally post offers in English to increase their chances of finding the best profiles. Thus, they avoid being limited to a small group of professionals.
The freelancing market is open to Haitians, as it is to Indians and Bangladeshis, who have been taking advantage of it for years. However, being a market where the demand is very high compared to the supply of contracts, freelancers must continually update their skills. Moreover, the 2017 survey of the Freelancers Union reveals that freelancers are more inclined than other workers to develop their knowledge. Yes, the freelance job market is open to everyone, including Haitians. However, those who want to succeed in it must devote time and a little of their income to training.