The freelance economy is on the rise and changing the way we think about employment. By 2020 freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full time workforce. Why are more of us choosing to break away from the nine-to-five?
The way we work in the future will look vastly different to today’s workplace. Gone will be the daily commute to an office where people arrive with their coffees ready or the designated 40-hour week. The workplace of the future will be more flexible, collaborative and mobile, where the majority of people work remotely on a freelance basis for multiple companies and are paid for work carried out for its value, rather than just hours. Gone is the security associated with fixed terms of employment, full working weeks, and a minimum wage.
Technological advances in 2018 are fundamentally changing the way people work and opportunities for freelancers are increasing thick and fast, particularly in software integration, mobile app development, social media strategy, information security and cloud computing being the job skills which will be seriously in demand in 2018.
Work, as we know it, is dying. Careers and offices: over. People [in the future] will be able to work any time and any place as freelancers managing multiple jobs.
But what has brought about this shift? Is change being directed by the workers themselves, demanding a working life that fits around them? Or from employers who no longer want to take risks on permanent members of staff?
More and more South African employees are choosing to pursue project-based careers as freelance professionals in search of the freedom to work flexibly and have a work/life balance that fits around them. They are also wanting to dictate their own hourly rate and focus on work that really interests them, without being snowed under by the drudgery of office life. Most importantly, employees are embracing this new way of working as freelancers in pursuit of the entrepreneurial excitement of running their own businesses and working on their own terms.
The focus is clearly shifting away from work-life-balance to a new term known as "work-life-flexibly".
These changes in the workplace are also driven by graduates coming out of university and demanding something different from what their parents had, and not just the latest iPhone. Generation Y want flexibility and freedom in their working lives, rather than a linear career in the same industry working 9-5 until they die. It is also a generation that has been brought up on-line; they shop on-line, study on-line, date on-line, organise and publicize their social lives on-line, so finding work on-line, using the internet as a connecting point to employers and working on-line is the natural next step for graduates after university.
Employers on the other hand are increasingly turning to freelancers to cut the cost of expensive employee overheads, have flexibility in how long they hire someone and speed up the time it takes to find the right person and hire them. Freelancers can provide niche skills, at a low risk and low cost for employers. Technological advances also mean that companies no longer have to limit themselves to employees who live in their town or city. With the ability of hiring on-line, companies can find people with the exact skills they’re looking for, and the best at what they do, to complete niche projects from anywhere in the world. Technology is already facilitating a global workforce, eroding geographical boundaries and providing the ability to interact almost anywhere, any time, blurring the lines between work and home life.
Right now, we see a lot of freelancers working for small businesses, but this will soon change. Major companies, such as Yahoo and AOL, are turning to freelance workers for everything from writers to IT workers. As much as 77 percent of those who do freelance projects believe this is only the beginning and that there many more good things to look forward to in the workplace of the future.
However this new workforce of freelancers making up the workplace of the future is largely fragmented and companies looking to take advantage of this new wave of niche expertise for project-based work are finding it increasingly difficult to source freelancers in a highly fragmented market.
At the same time freelancers are struggling to access new project opportunities. They are also finding it increasingly difficult to market (and differentiate) themselves, build their reputation as freelance professionals and leverage on each other’s knowledge.
Enter LinkdPro: Africa’s first digital talent platform connecting highly professional and experienced freelancers, ranging from management/strategy consultants, commercial lawyers, finance consultants/ex investment bankers, exponential tech specialists and industry sector experts, to companies looking for niche expertise for project-based work, effectively facilitating direct and real-time connections between the companies who need a service performed and the freelancers willing to provide that service.
LinkdPro is a digital talent platform which gives companies on-demand access to a 'hidden and fragmented market' of premium freelance professionals. LinkdPro uses artificial intelligent algorithms to match companies’ project needs with elite freelance professionals allowing companies to focus on driving change and growth.
All of LinkdPro’s freelancers are internationally experienced, rigorously selected [i.e. stringently vetted] and remarkable individuals with unparalleled industry expertise across all major sectors of the economy.
Changes in the workplace are upon us and the workplace of the future is experiencing growth and success as many freelancers are able to work for rates that are more competitive [cheaper] than traditional businesses can offer because freelance marketplaces are able to minimize overhead expenses such as employee benefits, office space or commuting costs.
LinkdPro is already working with large and medium corporates, private equity firms, investment firms and startups looking to engage the best freelance talent for superior results for project-based work. More and more companies in South Africa are embracing this model of getting assistance for their short-term business needs by using vetted professional freelancers rather than committing to a permanent resource or engaging a traditional professional services firm which charges exorbitant fees.
The workplace of the future is rapidly adopting freelancers as digital platforms such as LinkdPro create large-scale and efficient marketplaces that facilitate direct and real-time connections between companies who need a service performed and freelancers who are looking for project opportunities.
LinkdPro is increasingly connecting freelancers to the right work opportunities in the workplace of the future and millions of South Africans could find new jobs more quickly, reducing the duration of unemployment, while thousands who are inactive or employed part time could gain additional hours through its platforms. Senior retired freelance industry experts and business executives could also use LinkdPro’s digital talent platforms to supplement their retirement income as the cost of living in South Africa continues to spiral.
Therefore as the workplace evolves to embrace more freelancers, technological advances in digital talent platforms such as LinkdPro could add millions to the GDP of South Africa and also have a significant positive social impact in a country with persistently high levels of unemployment and low economic participation rates.