I’m a big fan of the Freelance Economy. Like many other working professionals, I rely on my Uber and Lyft drivers to help me navigate around the city. Furthermore, I’ve used freelancers for various tasks over the years and have found it really useful for all of my blogging endeavors.
Having talked to various drivers, graphic designers, digital marketing consultants, and content editors I can see the positives and negatives of the freelance lifestyle. Clearly others do too, as the Freelancers Union estimates there are as many as 53 Million Americans who are freelancers. While I think we’re still in the early innings of the Freelance Economy revolution, I’m bullish on the future, and it looks like I’m not the only one.
Last week, PWC, the global professional services firm with over 150,000 workers, launched Talent Exchange – A platform filled with freelance work opportunities on various tasks and projects within PWC. To date, there are 2,500 freelancers on the platform, a number that you can expect to grow. PWC started that platform as a means to identify top talent to match with specific projects that need to get done. Furthermore, PWC, like many other consulting firms, already has many flexible work arrangements in place for many of its workers. It has the tools, technologies and processes to work virtually and collaborate – so if it’s already doing this for it’s full-time workers, there’s really no reason why it can’t extend that to contractors and freelancers.
Talent Marketplaces are a new hot market, but certainly not unique – HourlyNerd has been around for a few years and UpWork (formerly Odesk+eLance) has paired millions of businesses and freelancers over the past few years, and is now looking to do the same for large enterprises. What’s different here is that for the first time a large organization has finally understood that there is significantly more smart and talented workers that exist outside the walls of it’s organization and it is trying to find a way to tap into that talent. Furthermore, this is also an acknowledgement that some people would prefer to be a “free agent” and not be affiliated with one company instead of the traditional method of salaried employment.
So, how might this work, and who might be interested in something like this? Here are a few scenarios:
A family who has a child and one parent decides to take time off from work. Instead of being faced with going to return full-time or being a stay at home parent, the parent can choose to work from home while taking on a couple assignments to earn extra income. Or, perhaps one parent can work a traditional full-time job during the week while the other works on PWC’s platform on the weekends while the other takes care of parent duty.
In another scenario, perhaps an up and coming designer wants to pad their portfolio with brand name and reputable work. PWC serves almost all of the Fortune 500, and a designer could easily be linked to working on something their portfolio the brand recognition it needs.
PWC’s platform is still in its infancy, and I’m sure there will be hiccups along the way. But don’t be surprised if more companies begin moving in this direction, and more employees begin opting out of the traditional employer contract in pursuit of the freelance life.