More than 54 million people participated in the gig economy in 2016. This new nimble approach to employment presents opportunities for both workers and employers in our rapidly changing economy. For companies focused on agility, innovation, and efficiency, tapping this workforce is key to success. For workers who want a flexible schedule, the ability to work on multiple projects, and more independence, joining the freelance workforce is becoming more attractive.
How the On Demand Workforce Benefits Employers
With the rise of the gig economy comes increased access to experienced, executive-level professionals for businesses of all sizes, startups, and nonprofits. Companies have the opportunity to build flexible teams with the skills and experience they need using freelance contract professionals.
No longer does a company need to make the decision between hiring another entry-level finance employee when it can instead work part-time with a high-level, experienced CFO. The company gains the insights and experience of a higher level, more seasoned professional at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire that same person full time. for a lower cost or an experienced, yet costly full-time CFO. Instead, the company can hire a fractional CFO until the need grows for a full-time position.
Similarly, if a startup needs expertise to launch a product or create an e-commerce strategy, it is no longer required to choose between an agency and a full-time experienced marketing hire. Instead, the startup can work with highly experienced freelance marketers on a per project basis, enabling the company more flexibility to grow and allocate cash in a way that uses resources most efficiently.
In a recent Forbes article, Jody Greenstone Miller, CEO and co-founder of Business Talent Group, said, “This type of agility goes way beyond corporate innovation labs. Instead, it cascades throughout the entire organization. The Head of Corporate Development at an industrial conglomerate, for instance, uses on-demand independent strategists to assess acquisition targets in adjacent industries. These professionals have deep industry knowledge, and they understand the company’s long-term strategic interests. Together, they help the Corporate Development team efficiently prioritize opportunities without hiring a suite of experts for each deal, and they increase its agility in diverse markets.”
While companies can be tempted to hire full-time, traditional employees because that has been the status quo, as organizations seek to compete and remain relevant, the gig economy presents a new way to access the best talent at the right time.
Why Many American Professionals are Choosing the Gig Economy
Traditional, full-time employment does not offer the same level of security it once did. Pensions are a distant memory, layoffs are commonplace, and rapid changes in technology are disrupting traditional modes of business, which can affect workers’ job security. This lessened sense of security combined with the flexibility and other benefits of freelancing has led to rapid growth in American workers leaving traditional jobs behind for the gig economy.
Two-thirds of independent workers say they prefer freelancing because it enables them to choose their hours and location, according to a 2015 survey. In addition, more than half who left traditional employment say they are making more money than they did in their previous jobs. Freelancers reported their number one motivation for leaving the traditional workplace was to make more money, followed by flexibility, and financial necessity.
Learn more about how companies are benefiting from experienced independent professionals in these case studies.